A praying mantis is in the mantid or Mantidae family. They are a group of large slow-moving insects. There are 1,800 different species of mantids /mantidae that live around the world. Praying mantises make up a small group in this species. They get their name from the way that their front legs are bent together at an angle that makes them look like they are praying. Learn more about Praying Mantis with these Praying Mantis Facts for Kids.
Praying Mantis Habitat
Praying Mantis live in a large range of habitats. They can be found in rainforests, deserts, grasslands, and meadows. You may even find one in your backyard.
Praying Mantis Appearance
Praying Mantis are masters of disguise. They are very well camouflaged and often mistaken for leaves or tree branches.
Green is the most common color for a praying mantis however, they can also be brown.
There is also a species of mantis called flower mantises, they blend in and look like flowers.
Praying mantis have long necks with triangle-shaped heads. They can turn their heads 180 degrees, that is a half-circle!
They have 5 eyes. Two large eyes on the sides of their heads and three smaller eyes in the middle.
They have excellent vision and can see in 3D.
Praying mantis do not hear as well as they can see. They have one ear that is in the middle of their abdomen.
They have 6 legs and 2 antennae.
Praying Mantis Characteristics
Praying mantis have 5 senses like people. They have the senses of sight, taste, touch, and smell.
Praying mantis have a lifespan of 1 year.
They grow usually between 1 inch to 6 inches long.
Most adults have wings. Only males can fly.
Praying Mantis Diet
Praying mantis are carnivores. They eat spiders, grasshoppers, frogs, lizards, small birds, crickets, flies, other small insects, and even another praying mantis.
When they capture their prey they will eat the brains first.
During mating or right after mating many females will bite the heads off the males. They will sometimes eat them.
Praying mantis will go through 3 stages of life egg, nymph then adult.
After mating, females will lay up to 400 eggs.
Small species of mantis will take 3-4 weeks to hatch, larger species will take 4-6 weeks.
Predators include frogs, bats, monkeys, snakes, large birds, and spiders.
Fun Praying Mantis Facts
- Praying mantis were believed to have superpowers in Ancient Egypt, Ancient Greece, and in the Assyrian Empire.
- Due to their praying posture, the praying mantis was considered a god in Southern African Khoi and San tradition. The word mantis in Afrikaans is Hottentotsgot meaning “god of the Khoi”
- Some martial arts develop in China have movements based on praying mantis.
- Close relatives to the praying mantis are termites and cockroaches.
- Praying mantis are popular insect pets.