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Praying Mantis

MANTODEA

Quick Facts

Scientific name: Mantodea
Length: 0.5 to 6 inches (1.27 to 15.24 centimeters)
Weight: 6 ounces (0.03 kilograms)
Life span: 1 year in wild (MLE)
Gestation: 3 to 6 months
Number of eggs: 100-400 eggs
Size at birth: 1.7 inches (4.3 centimeters)
Conservation status: Praying Mantis is not currently endangered

About

How large is a Praying Mantises family?

Praying Mantises are part of a very large family of insects that contain about 2,200 species in nine families that live all over the world in both temperate and tropical climates. The closest relatives of mantises are termites and cockroaches.


My name is misspelled!

The name praying mantis refers to the prayer-like stance of the insect. The name is often misspelled as “preying” mantis because they are predatory.


What do they eat?

They are exclusively predatory and carnivorous, with insects forming most of their diet. They will eat basically ANYTHING that they can capture, overcome and usually eat alive.


Do praying mantises actually devour their mates?

It’s not true, as many people think, that female praying mantids always devour their mates. Only a few of the 180 mantid species engage in this practice, and not always under natural conditions. The female matis dies around two weeks after laying eggs.


It’s the circle of life

The female praying mantis attaches sticky egg case to the underside of a leaf or branch during the Fall. This egg case is known as ootheca. The egg case will begin to hatch sometime during the Spring and early Summer when the temperatures warm up. The offspring, called nymphs, pop out of the egg case in rapid succession. Some of these nymphs will try to eat each other during this time. Nymphs undergo a series of repeated stages of growth in their development known as instars. At each stage, the nymphs shed off their exoskeleton through a process called molting to allow development of body segments leading to an increase in body size. Adolescent mantises are larger in size than nymphs. Mantises tend to be sluggish before they molt. Molting can take up to a few hours.


Conservation

Learn more about our efforts, our conservation partners around the world, and the simple steps you can take to contribute.

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