Thursday, March 21, 2013

The Praying Mantis

The Praying Mantis


The praying mantis is named for its prominent front legs, which are bent and held together at an angle that suggests the position of prayer. The larger group of these insects is more properly called the praying mantids. Mantis refers to the genus mantis, to which only some praying mantids belong. These insects will live for approximately 1 year.
The closest relatives of mantises are termites and cockroaches. They are sometimes confused with phasmids (stick/leaf insects) and other elongated insects such as grasshoppers and crickets.
By any name, these fascinating insects are formidable predators. They have triangular heads poised on a long "neck," or elongated thorax. Mantids can turn their heads 180 degrees to scan their surroundings with two large compound eyes and three other simple eyes located between them. They are the only insect capable of pivoting their heads!

Typically green or brown and well camouflaged on the plants among which they live, mantises lie in ambush or patiently stalk their quarry. They use their front legs to snare their prey with reflexes so quick that they are difficult to see with the naked eye. Their legs are further equipped with spikes for snaring prey and pinning it in place.
Moths, crickets, grasshoppers, flies, and other insects are usually the unfortunate recipients of unwanted mantid attention. However, the insects will also eat others of their own kind. The most famous example of this is the notorious mating behavior of the adult female, who sometimes eats her mate just after—or even during—mating. Yet this behavior seems not to deter males from reproduction.
Females regularly lay hundreds of eggs in a small case, and nymphs hatch looking much like tiny versions of their parents. (National Geographic)


Edited, Revised and Condensed by:  Scott Glaze   March 21, 2013
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5 comments:

  1. I think these are actually really cute. I love learning about animals! Thanks!
    Warmly, Mary

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