This insect seems like it’s engrossed in its daily prayers like any other devotee of a God! It gets its name by the prayer-like posture it sits, folding its fore-limbs like someone who is devotedly reciting holy prayers. And, before you get an angelic perception of them, let us disclose their real predacious side as well. Read on more to know about praying mantis facts.
Praying mantises are close relatives of cockroaches and termites. They camouflage themselves with leaves around them with the leaf-like color they possess. With two of their spiny forelegs, they clutch onto their prey for which it is very hard to escape!
Their necks are remarkably flexible as they can rotate their heads by180 degrees. This attribute cannot be seen in any other insect except for praying mantises. As tiny as they seem to be, their predatory skills are more than meets the eye! Their visual range goes up to 20 meters. They will lash out at their prey at a remarkable speed. They simply chew down their prey with their mandibles, unlike other arthropods that liquefy prey’s muscles and drain their body fluids. When threatened, they will spread their forelegs and wings and fan out wide to seem larger and more frightening.
The female mantises are much heavier than a male and have thicker abdomens as compared to the males. Their diet changes with time. Initially they start with eating small insects like tiny flies, and as they grow they feed upon frogs, birds, fish, snakes, rodents and scorpions. They range in size from 3/8 of an inch to 5 7/8 of an inch.
Their sex life can also be very perilous! In times of food scarcity the female praying mantises cannibalize their partners after mating. In some instances, the females will even behead their poor partners and eventually eat them up!
During the winters, they protect their eggs with a protective shell of a Styrofoam-like substance that get secreted from the body of the female mantids. Check the video for an amazing overview on this devilish angel.
Lately, they have been in demand as pets too.