Praying Mantis Stagmantis religiosa

The Praying Mantis acquired its name from its manner of holding the forepart of its body up with its large front legs held together as though in a praying position. The adults are usually between 1.5 and 3 inches long and are green or brown in color. Their color is adapted to their environment.

In a wet environment they will be green and in a dry environment they will be brown. Praying Mantids have ultrasound hearing of the same frequency used by bats. These insects are originally from Europe and are now found throughout the United States. They do not bite humans or spread disease. The Praying Mantids closest relatives are stick insects, grasshoppers, and cockroaches.

Food

The Praying Mantis eats other insects such as mosquitoes, flies, moths, butterflies, spiders, crickets, etc. They sit and wait patiently for their prey to come close enough for them to reach out and grab it with their front legs. Once they grab hold of it they bite the prey’s neck to paralyze it. Their front legs are equipped with rows of sharp spines that are used to grasp and hold the prey. The female Praying Mantis will eat the male during mating if she is hungry.

Habitat

Praying Mantids like thick vegetation with high insect populations. They range in areas throughout the tropical, subtropical and warm areas of the world.

Predators

Praying Mantid’s predators include birds, bats, spiders and snakes. Praying Mantids primarily rely on camouflage and their ultrasonic hearing for defense against predators.

Social Structure

The Praying Mantis is a solitary insect.

Birth & Offspring

In the fall after mating, the female Praying Mantis lays her eggs in a mass of about an inch long in a gummy substance the female sticks to twigs, plant stems or other objects. The female will make up to 22 egg masses during this time. Between 30 and 300 young emerge in the spring or early summer. The young will eat each other or any other type of insect they can catch. The young do not have wings and, as they grow, they will shed their skin several times. It takes approximately three months for them to mature.

Senses

The praying mantis has very good eyesight and can see movement up to 60 feet away from them. They also have ultrasonic hearing.

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