The Praying Mantis

(Mantis Religiosa)


Introduction Classes First Things First Key Features Basic Features Diet &
Combat Style Reproduction Growth & Development Self-Defense Cultural
Significance Praying Mantis Kung-Fu


"Praying Mantis" is the name commonly used in English speaking countries to
refer to a large, much elongated, slow-moving insect with fore legs fitted for
seizing and holding insect prey. The name, "Praying Mantis" more properly
refers to the specific Mantid species Mantis Religiosa or the European Mantis,
but typically is used more generally to refer to any of the mantid family. The
name is derived from the prayer-like position in which the insect holds its long,
jointed front legs while at rest or waiting for prey. It is also called the
"preying" mantis because of its predatory nature.

Many questions have risen regarding the praying mantis. Such questions include
how many different species there are in the animal kingdom. Estimates range
from 1500 to 2200 different mantid species WORLDWIDE. The most common figure
given, though, is about 1800. The ways the Mantid\'s are classified in the
Animal Kingdom. There is agreement that the collection of mantid species make
up the Mantidae family of insects. The Mantidae family, in turn, is part of the
order/suborder Mantodea that includes a variety of mantid-like species. But the
existing literature does not reflect a clear consensus about what insect order
Mantodea belong in. Some have placed Mantodea in the Dictyoptera Order-with the
roaches. Others place Mantodea in the Orthoptera Order-with crickets and
grasshoppers. Finally, some believe that Mantodea constitute their own
independent order of insects. There seems to be an emerging consensus around
this position.


The Mantis Religiosa was first named such and classified by the inventor
of the modern system of biological taxonomy Carolus Linnaeus. The three common
species of mantids in North America are the European mantis (Mantis religiosa),
the Chinese mantis (Tenodera aridifolia sinensis), and the Carolina mantis
(Stagmomantis carolina)

distinguishing features of these three species:


The Chinese mantis is the largest of the three, reaching lengths of three to
five inches. The European mantis, however, is a little smaller than the Chinese
variety and it only reaches lengths of two to three inches. And finally the
Carolina mantis is smallest of the three usually less than two inches in length.


The Chinese mantis is mostly light brown with dull green trim around its wings.
The European mantis is more consistently bright green in color. The Carolina
mantis is a dusky brown or gray color, perhaps to blend in with the pine forests
and sandhills of its native South.

Egg cases

The best way to distinguish the three species is by the shape of their egg cases
or ootheca. The egg case of the Chinese mantis is roughly ball-shaped, but has
a flattened area on one side. The European mantid\'s egg case is rounded without
this a this "flat portion" The Carolina mantis has an egg case that looks like a
short elongated tube, often spread out along a portion of twig or stem.


The Chinese mantis can be found throughout the United States. The European
mantis is most common east of the Mississippi. And the Carolina mantis makes
its home in the Southeastern part of the U.S.

Other Physical Characteristics

One of the most notable features of the Carolina mantis is that their wings only
extend about 3/4 of the way down the abdomen.


The European mantis is also distinguished as the only of three species that
bears a black-ringed spot beneath its fore coxae.

Species Origins The Carolina mantis is one of 20 mantid species native to North
America. The European and Chinese mantids were introduced to America around the
turn of the century. The European mantis is said to have first been brought to
Rochester New York in 1899 on a shipment of nursery plants. The Chinese mantis
arrived in 1895, from China (duh), on nursery stock sent to Philadelphia,


Key features of mantid physiology include a triangular head with large compound
eyes, two long, thin antennae, and a collection of sharp mouth parts designed
for devouring live prey. Because of its compound eye, the mantid\'s eyesight is
very good. However, the sharpest vision is located in the compound eye\'s center
so the mantis must rotate its head and look directly at an object for optimum
viewing. Fortunately, the mantis can also rotate its head 180 degrees to see
prey or approaching threats, the mantis can scan a total of 300 degrees. The
mantid\'s eyes are very sensitive to light, changing from light green or tan in
bright light, to dark brown in the dark. An elongated prothorax or neck that