Common Name: Praying Mantis
Range: The mantis is most common in the tropics and sub tropic, but they are also available in the United State and Europe. The Praying Mantis was introduced to the United States to help control pests, but it is now very common and it is considered native. These Praying Mantises can be found throughout the Costa Rica.
Size: The adult praying mantis ranges in size from a centimeter to several inches in length.
Diet: The Praying Mantis is a carnivorous insect. It generally lives off on other insects like flies and crickets, but some larger Praying Mantis may occasionally capture and eat a small reptile or bird. They wait for their prey to come close and quickly catch it. They are active during night.
Average life span: Praying Mantis usually lives from spring to fall. The longest a Mantis will live is around 1 year. One of the strangest things about this strange insect is that the female will often eat the male and siblings will often eat each other.
Habitat: They are widely distributed throughout the tropical, sub tropical and warm temperate regions of the worlds. Many species of praying mantis are found in the North and South America including Costa Rica and South Africa, The habitat influences the color of the mantis. This is very useful in camouflaging themselves from the view of other insects. This is also useful in hiding themselves from their enemies like the frogs, owl, chameleons, monkeys, bats, etc.
The praying mantis prefers living in warmer climates that have mild winters. They live in forests, gardens, or areas with green vegetation.
Breeding/Reproduction: Female lays 10-400 eggs on bubbled heap produced by abdominal glands. This heap hardens and become a protective capsule like structure with a protective coat. Hatch their The can be hatched eggs in 3 weeks to 6 months, depending on temperature and humidity. They go through 3 stages of metamorphoses: egg, nymph and adult. Sexual cannibalism is observed in the praying mantis. During mating the hungry females bite the heads of the males and eat greedily them. The males continue to copulate without their heads as the nerve for copulation is present in the abdomen region and not the head.
Praying Mantis is the usual name of insects that belongs to the order Mantodea. The name was derived from the Greek word that means a prophet. These insects stand up like in a prayer position hence the name Praying Mantis. They are entirely predatory and mostly carnivorous in nature. They prey on any species usually that is smaller than them for easy prey. Their main diet mostly consists of small scorpions, frogs, birds, fish, rodents and even snakes. They are known for their ability to be in camouflaged in the environment waiting to its prey to go near them. Then if the prey are near enough they will used their front legs to grab their food and swallow them alive. The praying mantis habitat is usually in tropical and places with moderate climate. They can found almost all over the world.
As most insects, their body is divided into three segments. First is the Head. It is known that their alien-like head are very flexible which makes them move it as much as 300 degrees and with compound eyes makes them see in a larger scope of vision. Second is the Thorax, where the big spiked legs were seen. And last is the abdomen which the male is slimmer than the female. Some species of praying mantis has wing morphologies which are classified as macroterous which means long wing, micropterous as vestigial wing, brachypterous as short wing and some doesn’t even have wings or apterous.
As their predatory skills rely on its good vision, praying mantis is mostly diurnal which means they are active during the day. But some male species fly at night in search for mate. During mating it was believed that a female praying mantis will bite its mate’s head off. Sexual cannibalism is rampant on their species. Then the female will lays 10 to as much as 400 eggs. Depending on the species some will lays and deposited its eggs on the ground, other will wrapped it around a plant or a leaf while some will affix the eggs in a flat surfaced. So after the eggs are hatched, they will become nymphs. These nymphs have no wings and can camouflage as an ant. Then after metamorphosis, the nymph will become adult praying mantis. The life span of the praying mantis depends on its environment. In temperate areas, they will live as much as 10 months to a year. In captivity they live as much as 14 months. But in colder area, they would die on winter.
Praying Mantis is known for their camouflaged ability. Some will appear like fresh or withered leaf, flowers, and blades of grass or even tree bark. While others looks like sticks and stones. If the praying mantis are threatened by other living things they will stand tall with their wings spreading out then their big frontal legs will be in preparation for an attack. Some species also can make a hissing sound to scare off their attacker. When the male flies at night to find its mate, they will be exposed to nocturnal creatures likes bats. Praying mantis has the ability to detect echolocation that the bats produced which means if they hear bats coming they will go on the ground to hide from them.
Most known predator of praying mantis are large insectivores like owls, bullfrogs,snake, bats and even chameleons. Also they were food for monkeys and large birds as well as same sized spiders and giant hornets. But still human makes the greatest impact on their existence. In some species they were considered threatened or endangered. One of these is the Apteromantis aptera found in Spain.
These were due to habitat destructions mostly caused by humans. Some parts of the world makes them as pets and even be eaten mostly for natural cure like one in China were they roast praying mantis for cure of bedwetting. Some farmers mostly who don’t want to use pesticides used praying mantis as a biological form of pest control since they eat lots of insects.