Animals

The Praying Mantis: 15 Facts You Won’t Believe!

These Praying Mantis facts symbolize their prominence.
Share
Tweet

A praying mantis' meaning and its name is derived from its specialty: it has prominent front legs folded towards each other, which creates a gesture that suggests devotion and praying. They are considered soulful and fascinating insects with various interesting features and properties. A praying mantis is an ambush and a ferocious predator with very fast moves. There are different types of praying mantis with several names: Carolina Mantis, the European Mantis, and the Chinese Mantis. The European Mantis is considered an archetype of mantids. Mantids have a unique feature that they can turn their heads 180 degrees and detect their surroundings. Mantids primarily prey on insects like crickets, flies, moths, and beetles. Their forelegs have spikes that help them being skilled predators in snaring their prey. Females lay hundreds of eggs in the Praying mantis' nest, and with time the eggs or the nymphs hatch, and little versions of their parents come out. The praying mantis' life cycle or praying mantis' lifespan is up to a year in the wild.

Although the mantis religiosa are voracious predators, they are prominent prey of several animals and insects like spiders, birds, snakes, and lizards. Mantids have a huge appetite which makes them accomplished predators. They are skilled hunters who are deadly to their prey as they have needle-like projections on their legs and also because of their ability to camouflage. A praying mantis plays a very major role in nature and the ecosystem. There are several benefits of a praying mantis to farmers as a praying mantis preys on insects, which helps pest control for crops and plants. The Chinese Mantis, as well as the European Mantis, were both introduced to North America and Canada to control pests.

To know more about these fascinating animals, we have gathered a set of interesting facts about them for you to read. You can also read our articles on the water beetle and western conifer seed bug.

Praying Mantis

Fact File

What do they prey on?

Insects, lepidoptera, cricket, blattodea, and beetles

What do they eat?

Carnivore

Average litter size?

300

How much do they weigh?

0.008-0.011lb (0.004-0.005kg )

How long are they?

1.95-2.93 in (5-7 cm)

How tall are they?

N/A

What do they look like?

Dark brown, green

Skin Type

N/A

What are their main threats?

Bats, monkeys, frogs, spiders, larger birds, and snakes

What is their conservation status?

Least Concern

Where you'll find them

Grasslands and tropical rainforests

Locations

Northern United States, Siberia, and Central Europe

Kingdom

Animalia

Class

Arthropoda

Scientific Name

Mantis religiosa

Family

Mantidae

Genus

Mantis linnaeus

Praying Mantis Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a praying mantis?

A praying mantis is a type of predatory insect that is generally of brown or green color.

What class of animal does a praying mantis belong to?

They are a type of insect that comes under the class of Arthropoda, and thus, praying mantis belongs to the class of arthropods.

How many praying mantises are there in the world?

The praying mantis have over 1,800 species in the world, but there is no such calculation or estimation done on the value of how many praying mantids are alive in the world.

Where does a praying mantis live?

Praying mantids live in the tropical rainforests and grasslands.

What is a praying mantis' habitat?

Praying mantises are found in several types of habitats worldwide where winters are not too harsh and there is an ample amount of vegetation. However, they are generally found in warmer climatic regions, mainly tropical latitudes, as most of their species live in the tropical rainforest. Some are even found in the subtropical latitudes. Moreover, they are also found in the meadowlands, deserts, and grasslands.

Who do praying mantises live with?

Praying mantises generally live alone, but they can be grouped to fulfill some needs, such as providing enough live food to avoid cannibalism (that is, they kill and eat each other) and sufficient space.

How long does a praying mantis live?

The life expectancy of praying mantids is dependant on their species and size, as generally, females live longer than males. Moreover, the smaller ones live for four to eight weeks, whereas the larger ones may live up to four to six months. The average lifespan of the praying mantis is one year; that is, they can live up to a year in suitable conditions.

How do they reproduce?

Praying mantids' mating usually begins during the fall for temperate climates, and in tropical regions, it may take place during any season of the year. Mantises have reproductive organs located at the edge of their abdomen. Many female praying mantises are flightless. Females attract their male mates with the help of a species-specific chemical called pheromone, and once both their intensities match, they are ready to mate. The reproduction and mating of praying mantises start with males' courtship, where the male performs or dances in front of the female mantises in the wild. Female mantises deposit fertilized praying mantis eggs which range from 10-400 eggs, with the help of an ovipositor present at the tip of their abdomen. They place their eggs securely in twigs, stems, or leaves, with every egg packed in a praying mantis' egg case identical to Styrofoam. The egg case is known as ootheca or praying mantis' egg sac, which is made up of a foamy matter produced in the abdomen. Every egg is placed in separate compartments within the egg case or ootheca, wherein every compartment has a one-way valve that permits the young ones to hatch easily. To avoid foreign parasitic insects, heat, birds, and reptiles invading, the ootheca hardens.

What is their conservation status?

They are listed as Least Concern in the IUCN, International Union for Conservation of Nature; their conservation status is not extinct according to other calculations and estimations.

Praying Mantis Fun Facts

What do praying mantises look like?

Praying mantises are predatory insects with bent front legs and triangular heads present at the end of their long neck. Their head has two antennae or feelers. The praying mantis' eyes include two large compound eyes and three small and simple eyes. They are usually of brown or green color, but they can camouflage and blend into the environment. Their legs have spikes for catching and pinning prey in their place and so their legs play a major role in their accomplishments. Praying mantises have a unique feature: they can rotate their heads up to 180 degrees, which is used to snare their prey. Most of the adult praying mantids have two wings, which help them fly. The outer wings are known as tegmina which are leathery and narrow. Females have shorter wings as compared to males, which do not cover the entire length of their legs and body.

Praying mantis facts illustrate their fascinating appearance.

How cute are they?

A praying mantid somehow manages to be cute by nibbling and hopping around on orchids and leaves with moves as fast as lightning bolts.

How do they communicate?

A praying mantid uses mainly three signals visual, chemical, and mechanical. They even produce a hissing sound when they have some threats or predators around them. An adult female mantid also releases a substance called pheromones to attract male mantids.

How big is a praying mantis?

A praying mantid is two inches long and is around four times smaller than beetles. Chinese mantids can grow up to five inches long and a giant praying mantis was found in southern China which was 3.5 inches long.

How fast can a praying mantis move?

A praying mantid is said to move quickly and the fastest praying mantid was recorded to move at a speed of 730 mm/s.

How much does a praying mantis weigh?

A praying mantid weighs around 0.008-0.011 lb, and this average weight may vary as it depends on various factors.

What are their male and female names of the species?

A praying mantid has no such distinct names for the male and female species. They are both referred to as praying mantises.

What would you call a baby praying mantis?

A baby praying mantid is called a baby mantis.

What do they eat?

A praying mantis catches its food with the help of its forelegs and eats insects like crickets, grasshoppers, flies, birds, moths, and other insects. They are carnivores and are also referred to as predatory insects. Moreover, some praying mantids may also eat other mantids, which is called cannibalism. For example, an adult female mantid can even eat her male mate after mating or even while mating if the male tries to do some notorious behavior. They also eat butterflies, small hummingbirds, spiders, and lizards.

Are they dangerous?

A praying mantis' bite is harmless, and they usually do not bite, but if startled, they can bite. A praying mantis' bite is nonvenomous, that is, it is not poisonous. They could bite even by mishap, which is not usually the case as they have strong eyesight.

Would they make a good pet?

Yes, fortunately, a praying mantis pet does make a good pet. It is extremely intriguing and fascinating to feed and pet a praying mantis. There are several benefits of keeping praying mantises as pets. Their ability to camouflage is another interesting feature.

Did you know...

Praying mantids have stereo vision and a wide field of sight or vision. Moreover, they have photoreceptor cells in their eyes known as fovea that helps them focus and catch their prey with acuity. They have 3D eyesight that works differently.

Praying mantids only eat live insects though they are not picky eaters. They prefer eating insects that move while they eat.

The praying mantises have battles with bats as bats eat them, and mantises are not easy victims. A praying mantis can easily detect a bat from its echolocation sounds, and as bats approach mantises, they quickly dive inwards by forming loops on their way. If bats catch them, they use their big front legs with spikes to slash their way free.

Praying mantids naturally have only one ear and some may even not have an ear. Moreover, their ear is located underneath their bellies that are further than their forelegs, and hence they have difficulty in tracking the direction of the sound and they cannot even differentiate between the frequency of the sounds.

What does seeing a praying mantis mean?

Seeing a praying mantis has a spiritual meaning; the mantis symbolizes trust, new perspectives, spiritual connection, introspection, and intuitive abilities. So seeing a praying mantis signifies various spiritual messages; for example, it means an angel is watching over you, which is a sign of good luck. Some people also believe that it means the universe sends you a message to trust and be patient with yourself. Thus, seeing a praying mantis has different meanings and contexts in different religions.

How to tell if a praying mantis is dying

A praying mantis' behavior may change when it is about to die. If they refuse to eat that is a distinctive loss of appetite which is a sign it may be dying. Their activity also decreases and it may even change its color or develop brown spots.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other arthropods, including hermit crab or wolf spider.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one on our praying mantis coloring pages.

Disclaimer

Disclaimer

At Kidadl we pride ourselves on offering families original ideas to make the most of time spent together at home or out and about, wherever you are in the world. We strive to recommend the very best things that are suggested by our community and are things we would do ourselves - our aim is to be the trusted friend to parents.

We try our very best, but cannot guarantee perfection. We will always aim to give you accurate information at the date of publication - however, information does change, so it’s important you do your own research, double-check and make the decision that is right for your family.

Kidadl provides inspiration to entertain and educate your children. We recognise that not all activities and ideas are appropriate and suitable for all children and families or in all circumstances. Our recommended activities are based on age but these are a guide. We recommend that these ideas are used as inspiration, that ideas are undertaken with appropriate adult supervision, and that each adult uses their own discretion and knowledge of their children to consider the safety and suitability.

Kidadl cannot accept liability for the execution of these ideas, and parental supervision is advised at all times, as safety is paramount. Anyone using the information provided by Kidadl does so at their own risk and we can not accept liability if things go wrong.

Sponsorship & Advertising Policy

Kidadl is independent and to make our service free to you the reader we are supported by advertising.

We hope you love our recommendations for products and services! What we suggest is selected independently by the Kidadl team. If you purchase using the buy now button we may earn a small commission. This does not influence our choices. Please note: prices are correct and items are available at the time the article was published.

Kidadl has a number of affiliate partners that we work with including Amazon. Please note that Kidadl is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.

We also link to other websites, but are not responsible for their content.

Read our Sponsorship & Advertising Policy
Get The Kidadl Newsletter

1,000 of inspirational ideas direct to your inbox for things to do with your kids.

Thank you! Your newsletter will be with you soon.
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
No items found.
No items found.