The Amazing Praying Mantis: Learn All About It!
By: Katie W., Grade 4
What has swordlike legs and is green or brown all over? It’s not a caterpillar or a snake…it’s a praying mantis! The way the praying mantis holds its front legs up, makes it look like they are praying. That is the way this fascinating creature got its name. They have a long neck that connects the triangular head to the abdomen. Praying mantises have wings that are hidden when resting flat on their abdomen. Although praying mantises can fly, the females rarely do since they are often heavier with their egg sacks.
On the head mantises have 5 eyes: two of them are huge, three of them are simple and less complex. The praying mantis can turn it’s head 180 degrees to look
out for predators or food. Isn’t that amazing?
Many predators eat the praying mantis’s larvae and pupae including bats, birds, frogs, spiders, fish and aquatic insects. When hunting, mantises sharp legs move so quick that the naked eye has trouble seeing it move. Mantis legs also have spikes for catching other insects and pinning them down. They have very good camouflage because of their color (commonly green, but once in a while, brown). Preying mantises live in bushy fields and gardens, tropical and temperate rain forests in Northern Africa, Southern Europe, Asia, and North America. Mantises will live about to 12 months in the wild and they are 0.5 to 6 inches long. The praying mantis is a carnivore eating moths, aphids, mosquitoes, flies, roaches, bees, crickets, butterflies, grasshoppers, beetles, and spiders. They also will eat each other. (Wait, that’s cannibalism! Ugh!) The female, after mating, will also eat her mate just after or even during mating. Females lay up to 300 eggs in a cramped case. When the nymphs hatch, they look like small adults.
Here are some fun facts about praying mantises:
-There are approximately 1,800 different species of praying mantis.
-Praying mantis helps out farmers by eating insects that devour crops.
-These little creatures are absolutely harmless to humans.
-Mantis eggs are often insulated with a foamy material that protects them over winter and keeps them warm.
Well, I sure learned a lot about praying mantises just writing this. Thank you for reading what I wrote, and I hope you enjoyed it and learned a lot. Please comment and tell me what you thought of my article. Did you learn anything new? I sure did.