Mantis Facts

the preying mantis
1. Did you know that most of the about 2,000 species' of mantids worldwide are found in Asia?

2. There are about 20 U.S. native mantids. Two species, the Chinese Mantis and European Mantis, were purposely introduced to control pests in farms and gardens.

3. There are some “illegal” mantids that carry restrictions in the U.S. They are the spiny flower mantis, orchid mantis, wondering violin mantis, ghost mantis, devils flower mantis, and the Egyptian mantis among others. These species became restricted under the Non Native Invasive Species Act of 1992. All that for an insect!

4. The praying mantis has excellent eyesight and can see up to about 50 feet away. Their eyes are made up of tiny compounds.

5. It is believed that the female mantis will eat the male after mating since the protein helps in egg development. How’s that for male sacrifice?

6. The praying mantis is the only insect that can rotate its alien-like head almost completely around! House flies can tilt their head slightly but not to this degree. This flexibility helps with their hunting.

7. A State Insect? Yes, it is true. The European Mantis (mantis religiosa), a native of Southern Europe became the official State Insect of Connecticut on October 1st, 1977

8. North American Mantids are not actually on the endangered species list.

9. One mantis species in Spain, Apteromantis aptera, is actually considered as endangered.

10. The earliest fossils of the praying mantis are from Oligocene, a geologic epoch dating around 23 to 34 million years ago.

11. Mantids are often mistaken for giant stick insects, even though it is quite easy to tell them apart. Stick insects lack the mobile head and spiked forelegs. Also, they are herbivores, while mantids are obviously strictly carnivorous.

12. The word "mantis" comes from the Greek word meaning prophet.

13. In most mantids there is one ear in a form of a small slit near the legs and has two eardrums and tuned to25-60 kHz, which allows them to hear the ultrasonic sounds of bats as they near so they can dodge them quickly.

14. The word praying mantis is often spelled preying mantis and is googled this way almost as often as the correct spelling. Preying Mantis is in essence of the character of the insect and correctly describes its predatory nature.

15. Praying mantis eggs can be sold online and is popular among farmers who purchase them to control pests.

16. The mantids’ forelegs have sharp spines on them. These rows of spines are used to grasp their prey.

17. Some large adult mantids even eat animals much larger than themselves, like frogs, lizards, and small birds

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