Praying Mantis Taxonomy
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Special Skills, Traits and Features
The praying mantis is a carnivorous insect that takes up a deceptively humble posture when it is searching for food. The mantis’s front forelegs are held up together in a posture that looks like it is praying. These front legs are equipped with rows of sharp spines used to grasp its prey. They wait unmoving, and are almost invisible on a leaf or a stem, ready to catch any insect that passes. When potential prey comes close enough, the mantis thrusts its pincher-like forelegs forward to catch it. The prey probably won't escape because the forelegs are very strong and armed with overlapping spines. The mantid bites the neck of its prey to paralyze it. Mantids almost always start eating from the insect’s neck. This way, the mantis makes sure that the insect’s struggle stops quickly. A praying mantis’s diet can include: insects, other mantises, beetles, butterflies, crickets, grasshoppers, spiders, small tree frogs, lizards, mice, small nesting birds, and hummingbirds. The primary predators of the praying mantis include; frogs, monkeys, larger birds, spiders, snakes and even other mantids.
Praying mantises are about 2.5 - 12 inches according to species. Their colors vary, ranging from light greens to pinks. Most mantids are pea green or brown. Nearly 2,000 species of mantids are widely distributed throughout tropical, subtropical, and warm temperate areas of the world. Different species live in many parts of countries such as North and South America, South...