It is always fun to observe insects in the garden, especially when it is the ‘alien-like’ triangular-headed praying mantis.
If you go in your garden in July and look closely, you will surely find this funny-looking and useful little being, planning its next prey. Here are a few mantis facts:
- The praying mantis got its name because of its unique style of resting with their forelegs joined together, as if they are in a deep thought or praying in front of a deity.
- There are more than 2000 species of praying mantises around the world, with the smallest being 2/5 inch and the biggest being 12 inches long.
- The praying mantis mimics leaves and stems in a way that makes them almost invisible to their prey.
- The prey of the praying mantises are usually fellow mantises, butterflies, beetles, spiders, grasshoppers, crickets and almost all invertebrates. Some species of praying mantis eat vertebrates like small frogs, mice, lizards and even hummingbirds!
- In some species of praying mantis, females eat the head of their mate after the process of fertilization.
- The praying mantis shed their exoskeleton (outer skin layer) for a record 12 times, before growing into the full adult.
- Praying mantises are supposedly very useful insects for gardeners and farmers as natural insecticides.
- When threatened by predators, the praying mantis stand tall with open mouth, fanning wings and spread out forelegs in order to look bigger than their actual size.
- The praying mantis has only one ear that uses the same ultrasonic frequency that bats use.
- The praying mantis name is often misspelled as ‘preying’ mantis, because of their significant preying characteristics.