The praying mantis is a surprising insect. Its habits, behavioral patterns may shock many people who did not know this creature before. The insect often appears in ancient myths and legends of different countries – in China, for example, praying mantises were considered the norm of greed and stubbornness. It is hard to believe that these crumbs are very cruel. Processing their prey at a slow pace, these ruthless insects enjoy the process.
We have tried to collect for you the most interesting facts about praying mantises – amazing insects! By taking a little time to read, you will learn something new – something with which you can surprise your friends and demonstrate your broad vision.
10. It gets its name from the structure of the legs.
Praying mantises have interestingly folded front legs. When the insect is motionless – its legs are raised and bent in such a way that they resemble a prayer pose. But in fact, at this moment he does not pray at all, but hunts…
The praying mantis is indeed a very bloodthirsty creature – one could well call it a killer or even a cannibal. During its hunt, it sits motionless, advancing its front paw. Sounds like a trap – it is.
A praying mantis can grab a passing insect at any time. To guard the prey of this bloodthirsty creature, sharp notches, located on the legs inside, help.
9. In 50% of cases, females eat males.
This fact will probably shock you! Be ready… After mating, the female praying mantis bites off the head of the male.. The reasons for this are banal – after exercise, the woman has a feeling of hunger, and the effect of sex hormones leads to an increase in aggressiveness in her behavior.
In fact, only 50% of the time does a woman satisfy her hunger with her sexual partner. The male is much smaller and therefore more agile. He himself decides whether to become a dinner party for his partner or a “retreat”. The males try to approach the female very carefully so as not to attract her attention.
8. For some species of praying mantises, mating is not necessary.
You already know that after mating, the female eats the male (and sometimes during sex). This is due to the female’s greater need for protein when she is carrying fertilized eggs. With the onset of autumn, females increase their appetite – they eat a lot, because of which their stomachs swell. From there, they begin to move more slowly, preparing to lay eggs.
Not all praying mantises need to mate to lay eggs.. Before the start of their laying, the female chooses a necessarily flat surface, and then forms a foamy substance on which the eggs are strengthened.
7. Able to camouflage itself by changing color
The praying mantis is an amazing creature in every way! You can encounter both green and sable mantises… How do they change color? The fact is that the color of the insect is very variable – it varies from green to dark brown. Camouflage helps them adapt to the background, to blend in with it: whether it’s dirt or grass
. Praying mantises skillfully merge with the surface on which they had to be in the first days after the moulting process. And finally – it happens in a brightly lit area.
6. Turns your head 180 degrees
The praying mantis has incredible powers. Its head is very mobile, endowed with piercing eyes. It is the only insect capable of turning its head 180 degrees in different directions.thus giving it a wide view (yes, many would dream of such a capacity!)
Moreover, despite the fact that praying mantises have only one ear, they hear everything perfectly, and thanks to the rotation of the head, not a single future victim of the praying mantis can escape it…
5. Included in the cockroach order
If you look at a praying mantis (for example, the one that lives in Asia), you will notice a strong resemblance to another representative of the insect world – a cockroach. It’s true – the praying mantis belongs to the order cockroaches. In the narrow sense of the word, cockroaches are united by the same type and anatomical features of wings and mouth organs. It should be noted that the structure of the ootheca in cockroaches and praying mantises is different.
Interesting fact: the praying mantis reaches 11 cm in length – this fact can frighten those who are disgusted with insects.
4. Praying mantises are predators
Thus, you have already learned that the praying mantis is a predatory insect. Let’s talk about this in more detail. This insect lives all over the world, perhaps with the exception of the polar regions, and perfectly adapts to different conditions. It prefers warm climates. The appearance of this creature resembles an alien! It has a triangular head, one ear, two compound eyes.
Mantis – 100% predatory. It is a rather voracious insect that can consume thousands of butterflies, cockroaches, grasshoppers and dragonflies in just a few months. Larger individuals dare to attack even mice, birds and frogs.
The praying mantis never eats dead insects – its prey must be alive, moreover, it is desirable that it resist … The praying mantis remains motionless in anticipation of the victim, and as soon as it approaches, the predator grabs it with its front paws, firmly fixing the prey with spikes. No one can escape the grip of the praying mantis…
The feast begins with biting living flesh – the praying mantis enthusiastically watches how its victim is tormented. But that’s not the whole story of the praying mantis – sometimes they eat each other.
3. More than two thousand species of praying mantis have been identified
On our planet there are about 2000 species of praying mantises, it is worth noting that they all differ greatly from each other in their way of life and color.. The most common are common praying mantises (48-75 mm) – in Russia they are most often found in the steppes, as well as in southern Siberia, the Far East, the North Caucasus, the Central Asia, etc.
Desert species of these insects are characterized by their small size, and in the process of movement they resemble tiny workers – ants. The most common color in praying mantises is green and white-yellow. On average, an insect lives for about a year.
2. Females prefer not to fly
For hours, and sometimes even days, the praying mantis sits motionless. It fits perfectly into the environment, so the chance of noticing it is minimal.
Despite the well-developed wings, the praying mantis moves very slowly, and if we talk about flights, it does it very badly. A slow-flying insect visible from afar is easy prey for birds. without special need, the praying mantis does not fly and females usually fly in flight only in the most extreme cases – it’s too risky. They are larger than the males and their wings are rather weak.
1. Ancient Egyptians worshiped praying mantises
Praying mantises are rather ancient insects that have become known for their fearless disposition and unusual appearance. In ancient Egypt, this amazing insect left its mark in the form of an image on the tomb of the ancient Egyptian pharaoh – Ramesses II.
Religious Egyptians even mummified them. The praying mantis was entitled to its sarcophagus and the afterlife. Archaeologists in 1929 opened such a sarcophagus, but the mummy collapsed too quickly, but remained in the photographs.