The praying mantis has somewhat of a mixed reputation. Some people think these are frightening while others find then fascinating. It has been compared to having the same look as one might see if you encountered aliens. It does have a fierce bite as well. You can find these insects just about anywhere you look. Below are some fun and knowledgeable facts about this unique creature.
The Mantidae family
This insect belongs with to a family called mantidae. This includes close to 1800 varieties of species. The size of these insects range from about half an inch to almost six inch in length. The larger ones are usually what people see as they think about them. They like to be in warm climates and usually thrive when the humidity levels are high.
The Thistle Mantis (Blepharopsis Mendica) is commonly found on Canary Islands and in North America. They can grow up to 5 to 6 centimeters in length.
Varieties of Mantis
Only twenty percent of the species of Mantises are actually native to this country. We have species from China and the European countries. They were introduced to naturally help control insects that destroy crop fields. They came in range of colors from green to dark brown. In other parts of the world, these insects can be pink.
How Mantis got their name?
They got the name because of their folded, front legs, as if they were praying. At times their names are incorrectly called (prey)ing mantises. This is actually more suited to their style of hunt. The Greek word for mantis translates to the word prophet.
These insects have triangle shape heads and their eyes are compounded. They do have the ability to turn their head a full 180 degrees. These insects are equipped with spines that are spikey on the legs, which enables them to hang on to their prey.
Folklore about Mantis
History has had much folklore associated with this type of insect. It was once believed that they could lead lost kids to their homes. Many people will be surprised to learn that these insects are closer in relation to roaches than grasshoppers. The creatures are very predatory insects. They solely eat other insects that come into their claimed space. Another fun fact that isn’t known is that these insects can catch and eat flies and even those pesky mosquitoes. The biggest ones may even choose a small lizard to consume for its meal.
They are used as a natural organic control of pests
If you don’t see any around the garden, you may go online and purchase some eggs to be strategically place around for them to hatch. This is legal as long as the species are already introduced into the state. They are so interesting to just sit and watch. If you catch sight of one hunting, then you have a treat to watch its style as it finds food.
Their looks can actually help
The odd look to this insect can sometime blends in with a tree. They appear to be an extension of the branches itself. This is certainly one of nature’s most exciting creatures. You will watch these for hours. Kids can also learn a lot about nature and the order of insects by observing this truly divine creature.
More on praying mantis: What do praying mantis eat?