Praying Mantis

This Praying Mantis was on our back patio door and it scared the bajesus out of Chika ! We looked them up because we had some confusion whether it was a stick bug or praying mantis. It’s a Praying Mantis. Thought we’d share a few interesting things we found out about them.

Praying Mantis

  • The name comes from their prayer-like stance. Scientific name is Mantodea.
  • There are about 2,000 species worldwide. Majority are in Asia. About 20 species are in US and are exotic species.
  • They use their long front legs to strike and attempt to pinch, bite or slash its opponent. Then uses its forelegs to hold their prey to eat them head first. They also make a hissing sound.
  • They can rotate their heads 180 degrees compared to humans who only have 130 degree range in movement. No other insect can do so.
  • They have huge compound eyes mounted on a triangular head and have large range of vision. They use sight for detecting movement of prey and swivel head to bring prey in to view.
  • Life span is 10 to 12 months.
  • Their antennae are used for smell.
  • Fanning wings make them seem larger to scare opponent.
  • They primarily eat smaller insects or small animals such as frogs, birds and lizards. (What! That surprised me that they were able to eat something of that size).
  • Bats send out signals of sound to detect their food/prey and it bounces back to them, called echolocation. Praying Mantis’s can hear bat sounds with their ‘single’ ear located on the underside of its belly. This means it cannot discriminate the direction of sound. It does detect ultrasound (like by the bats). A mantis in flight will stop, drop and roll midair, dive bombing away from the bat.
  • Most interesting fact. They sometimes eat their mates. They cannibalize their sex partners. The female usually eats the male after mating has taken place. She’ll sometimes behead the poor dude before they’ve consummated their relationship. The male sneaks up on the female to mate, and if the male is not fast enough at running away, the female may bite his head off.  As if that isn’t bad enough for the poor chap, males tend to suddenly die about 2 to 3 weeks after mating in the fall. This is usually caused by the females urge to kill of the male once the egg pouch has been produced.  (How stressful and risky to be a male in the praying mantis world !! In my next life, if I come back as a praying mantis, please let me be a female!)

Well there you have it. Fun Praying Mantis facts.

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