Praying Mantis

~ By Sassy E. ~

The praying mantis lives in warm environments all over the world. By holding its front legs up right in front of its body, making it look like a human being at prayer. It preys upon other insects and is also known as an ambush hunter. Resting quietly among the twigs and leaves of its home, it moves slowly and blends in with the vegetation.

The mantis attacks with blazing speed and any unsuspecting insect that comes too close, grasping them with its front legs. The mantis eats its victim while it is still alive and struggling, with its sharp and powerful jaws. The praying mantis bites the back of the neck on it's victims to paralyze it. The praying mantis is sometimes known as a dragon because it's also known as a fierce hunter. Some of the mantis victims are butterflies, bees, frogs, spiders, mice, lizards and small birds. The mantis also has very good eyesight. It will shed its skin twelve times before it becomes full grown.

The female praying mantis lay masses of eggs, up to three hundred. The eggs are left in a frothy liquid. This liquid hardens to form a protection of the eggs. These are known as the egg cases. When spring comes the eggs hatch and hundreds of hungry nymphs emerge. The female can not fly because of all the eggs in the abdomen.

The mantis is considered to be beneficial insect, because of its voracious appetite which controls unwanted insect pest. Some places people have them for pets. They can be picked up and let walk on your arm or hand where they will sit peacefully. Don't try and pick them up by grasping as the mantis will probably pinch you with its strong and piney front legs. The female sometimes eats the male after mating or while mating.

The mantis nymphs march in a single file. When nymphs hunt they eat leafhoppers, aphids and very small flies. The mantis nymphs are tiny like a mosquito; also have claws for holding their prey.

The Latin name of the Praying Mantis is Tenodera Sinensis.

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