Praying Mantis

Photo by Mark Woodworth

Quick Facts:

  • It isn’t too much of a surprise to see praying mantises eat their own kind. The most well-known example being female praying mantises eating their mates after or even during mating. Yet it still does not keep the males away from females.
  • The praying mantis is a carnivore. Their diet mostly consists of moths, crickets, grasshoppers, flies, and other insects of the like (and of course their own kind)
  • Praying mantises have five eyes in total, the two, very well known, compact eyes, and three other simple eyes.
  • Praying mantises sometimes attack hummingbirds.

This praying mantis has just eaten the head of its prey, a katydid. Since the mantis hunts by stealth and may itself be eaten by a bird, its green or brown color provides camoflauge in the foliage. It holds still, looking like a leaf, until a fly, beetle, moth, or other insect happens by. The mantis’s front legs are lined with saw-like spines that help it grab and hold its meal. The legs strike so fast it is difficult to see them move with the naked eye. The female may grab and eat the male during or after mating, securing a high energy meal to nurture her eggs. The mantis has a triangular head, big eyes with excellent eyesight, and a flexible neck that allows it to look around for prey. Here it turned to look at the photographer.


What animal can rotate its head around further, great horned owls or the praying mantis?

Click for the answer:

While the praying mantis can rotate its head 180 degrees which is quite impressive, it is still quaint when compared to the Great horned owl which can turn its head 270 degrees.