Fun Praying Mantis Facts For Kids

Moumita Dutta
Feb 29, 2024 By Moumita Dutta
Originally Published on Aug 05, 2021
Edited by Monisha Kochhar
These Praying Mantis facts symbolize their prominence.
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Age: 3-18
Read time: 8.4 Min

A praying mantis' meaning and its name is derived from its specialty: it has prominent front legs folded towards each other, which creates a gesture that suggests devotion and praying. They are considered soulful and fascinating insects with various interesting features and properties. A praying mantis is an ambush and a ferocious predator with very fast moves. There are different types of praying mantis with several names: Carolina Mantis, the European Mantis, and the Chinese Mantis. The European Mantis is considered an archetype of mantids. Mantids have a unique feature that they can turn their heads 180 degrees and detect their surroundings. Mantids primarily prey on insects like crickets, flies, moths, and beetles. Their forelegs have spikes that help them being skilled predators in snaring their prey. Females lay hundreds of eggs in the Praying mantis' nest, and with time the eggs or the nymphs hatch, and little versions of their parents come out. The praying mantis' life cycle or praying mantis' lifespan is up to a year in the wild.

Although the mantis religiosa are voracious predators, they are prominent prey of several animals and insects like spiders, birds, snakes, and lizards. Mantids have a huge appetite which makes them accomplished predators. They are skilled hunters who are deadly to their prey as they have needle-like projections on their legs and also because of their ability to camouflage. A praying mantis plays a very major role in nature and the ecosystem. There are several benefits of a praying mantis to farmers as a praying mantis preys on insects, which helps pest control for crops and plants. The Chinese Mantis, as well as the European Mantis, were both introduced to North America and Canada to control pests.

To know more about these fascinating animals, we have gathered a set of interesting facts about them for you to read. You can also read our articles on the water beetle and western conifer seed bug.

Praying Mantis Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a praying mantis?

A praying mantis is a type of predatory insect that is generally of brown or green color.

What class of animal does a praying mantis belong to?

They are a type of insect that comes under the class of Arthropoda, and thus, praying mantis belongs to the class of arthropods.

How many praying mantises are there in the world?

The praying mantis have over 1,800 species in the world, but there is no such calculation or estimation done on the value of how many praying mantids are alive in the world.

Where does a praying mantis live?

Praying mantids live in the tropical rainforests and grasslands.

What is a praying mantis' habitat?

Praying mantises are found in several types of habitats worldwide where winters are not too harsh and there is an ample amount of vegetation. However, they are generally found in warmer climatic regions, mainly tropical latitudes, as most of their species live in the tropical rainforest. Some are even found in the subtropical latitudes. Moreover, they are also found in the meadowlands, deserts, and grasslands.

Who do praying mantises live with?

Praying mantises generally live alone, but they can be grouped to fulfill some needs, such as providing enough live food to avoid cannibalism (that is, they kill and eat each other) and sufficient space.

How long does a praying mantis live?

The life expectancy of praying mantids is dependant on their species and size, as generally, females live longer than males. Moreover, the smaller ones live for four to eight weeks, whereas the larger ones may live up to four to six months. The average lifespan of the praying mantis is one year; that is, they can live up to a year in suitable conditions.

How do they reproduce?

Praying mantids' mating usually begins during the fall for temperate climates, and in tropical regions, it may take place during any season of the year. Mantises have reproductive organs located at the edge of their abdomen. Many female praying mantises are flightless. Females attract their male mates with the help of a species-specific chemical called pheromone, and once both their intensities match, they are ready to mate. The reproduction and mating of praying mantises start with males' courtship, where the male performs or dances in front of the female mantises in the wild. Female mantises deposit fertilized praying mantis eggs which range from 10-400 eggs, with the help of an ovipositor present at the tip of their abdomen. They place their eggs securely in twigs, stems, or leaves, with every egg packed in a praying mantis' egg case identical to Styrofoam. The egg case is known as ootheca or praying mantis' egg sac, which is made up of a foamy matter produced in the abdomen. Every egg is placed in separate compartments within the egg case or ootheca, wherein every compartment has a one-way valve that permits the young ones to hatch easily. To avoid foreign parasitic insects, heat, birds, and reptiles invading, the ootheca hardens.

What is their conservation status?

They are listed as Least Concern in the IUCN, International Union for Conservation of Nature; their conservation status is not extinct according to other calculations and estimations.

Praying Mantis Fun Facts

What do praying mantises look like?

Praying mantises are predatory insects with bent front legs and triangular heads present at the end of their long neck. Their head has two antennae or feelers. The praying mantis' eyes include two large compound eyes and three small and simple eyes. They are usually of brown or green color, but they can camouflage and blend into the environment. Their legs have spikes for catching and pinning prey in their place and so their legs play a major role in their accomplishments. Praying mantises have a unique feature: they can rotate their heads up to 180 degrees, which is used to snare their prey. Most of the adult praying mantids have two wings, which help them fly. The outer wings are known as tegmina which are leathery and narrow. Females have shorter wings as compared to males, which do not cover the entire length of their legs and body.

Praying Mantis on a leaf

How cute are they?

A praying mantid somehow manages to be cute by nibbling and hopping around on orchids and leaves with moves as fast as lightning bolts.

How do they communicate?

A praying mantid uses mainly three signals visual, chemical, and mechanical. They even produce a hissing sound when they have some threats or predators around them. An adult female mantid also releases a substance called pheromones to attract male mantids.

How big is a praying mantis?

A praying mantid is two inches long and is around four times smaller than beetles. Chinese mantids can grow up to five inches long and a giant praying mantis was found in southern China which was 3.5 inches long.

How fast can a praying mantis move?

A praying mantid is said to move quickly and the fastest praying mantid was recorded to move at a speed of 730 mm/s.

How much does a praying mantis weigh?

A praying mantid weighs around 0.008-0.011 lb, and this average weight may vary as it depends on various factors.

What are their male and female names of the species?

A praying mantid has no such distinct names for the male and female species. They are both referred to as praying mantises.

What would you call a baby praying mantis?

A baby praying mantid is called a baby mantis.

What do they eat?

A praying mantis catches its food with the help of its forelegs and eats insects like crickets, grasshoppers, flies, birds, moths, and other insects. They are carnivores and are also referred to as predatory insects. Moreover, some praying mantids may also eat other mantids, which is called cannibalism. For example, an adult female mantid can even eat her male mate after mating or even while mating if the male tries to do some notorious behavior. They also eat butterflies, small hummingbirds, spiders, and lizards.

Are they dangerous?

A praying mantis' bite is harmless, and they usually do not bite, but if startled, they can bite. A praying mantis' bite is nonvenomous, that is, it is not poisonous. They could bite even by mishap, which is not usually the case as they have strong eyesight.

Would they make a good pet?

Yes, fortunately, a praying mantis pet does make a good pet. It is extremely intriguing and fascinating to feed and pet a praying mantis. There are several benefits of keeping praying mantises as pets. Their ability to camouflage is another interesting feature.

Did you know...

Praying mantids have stereo vision and a wide field of sight or vision. Moreover, they have photoreceptor cells in their eyes known as fovea that helps them focus and catch their prey with acuity. They have 3D eyesight that works differently.

Praying mantids only eat live insects though they are not picky eaters. They prefer eating insects that move while they eat.

The praying mantises have battles with bats as bats eat them, and mantises are not easy victims. A praying mantis can easily detect a bat from its echolocation sounds, and as bats approach mantises, they quickly dive inwards by forming loops on their way. If bats catch them, they use their big front legs with spikes to slash their way free.

Praying mantids naturally have only one ear and some may even not have an ear. Moreover, their ear is located underneath their bellies that are further than their forelegs, and hence they have difficulty in tracking the direction of the sound and they cannot even differentiate between the frequency of the sounds.

What does seeing a praying mantis mean?

Seeing a praying mantis has a spiritual meaning; the mantis symbolizes trust, new perspectives, spiritual connection, introspection, and intuitive abilities. So seeing a praying mantis signifies various spiritual messages; for example, it means an angel is watching over you, which is a sign of good luck. Some people also believe that it means the universe sends you a message to trust and be patient with yourself. Thus, seeing a praying mantis has different meanings and contexts in different religions.

How to tell if a praying mantis is dying

A praying mantis' behavior may change when it is about to die. If they refuse to eat that is a distinctive loss of appetite which is a sign it may be dying. Their activity also decreases and it may even change its color or develop brown spots.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other arthropods, including hermit crab or wolf spider.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one on our praying mantis coloring pages.

Praying Mantis Facts

What Did They Prey On?

Insects, lepidoptera, cricket, blattodea, and beetles

What Type of Animal were they?

Carnivore

Average Litter Size?

300

How Much Did They Weigh?

0.008-0.011lb (0.004-0.005kg )

What habitat Do they Live In?

grasslands and tropical rainforests

Where Do They Live?

northern united states, siberia, and central europe

How Long Were They?

1.95-2.93 in (5-7 cm)

How Tall Were They?

N/A

Class

Arthropoda

Genus

Mantis linnaeus

Family

Mantidae

Scientific Name

Mantis religiosa

What Do They Look Like?

Dark brown, green

Skin Type

N/A

What Are Their Main Threats?

bats, monkeys, frogs, spiders, larger birds, and snakes

What is their Conservation Status?

Least Concern
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Written by Moumita Dutta

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

Moumita Dutta picture

Moumita DuttaBachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

A content writer and editor with a passion for sports, Moumita has honed her skills in producing compelling match reports and stories about sporting heroes. She holds a degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the Indian Institute of Social Welfare and Business Management, Calcutta University, alongside a postgraduate diploma in Sports Management.

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