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Mantises are an
order Order, ORDER or Orders may refer to: * Orderliness Orderliness is a quality that is characterized by a person’s interest in keeping their surroundings and themselves well organized, and is associated with other qualities such as cleanliness a ...
(Mantodea) of
insect Insects (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be in ...

insect
s that contains over 2,400 species in about 460 genera in 33 families. The largest family is the
Mantidae Mantidae is one of the largest families In human society, family (from la, familia) is a Social group, group of people related either by consanguinity (by recognized birth) or Affinity (law), affinity (by marriage or other relationship). T ...
("mantids"). Mantises are distributed worldwide in
temperate In geography Geography (from Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its populati ...
and
tropical The tropics are the region of Earth surrounding the Equator. They are delimited in latitude by the Tropic of Cancer in the Northern Hemisphere at N and the Tropic of Capricorn in the Southern Hemisphere at S; these latitudes correspond to ...

tropical
habitats. They have triangular heads with bulging eyes supported on flexible necks. Their elongated bodies may or may not have wings, but all Mantodea have forelegs that are greatly enlarged and adapted for catching and gripping prey; their upright posture, while remaining stationary with forearms folded, has led to the common name praying mantis. The closest relatives of mantises are
termite Termites are Eusociality, eusocial insects that are classified at the Taxonomy (biology), taxonomic rank of infraorder Isoptera, or alternatively as Taxonomic rank#All ranks, epifamily Termitoidae, within the order Blattodea (along with cockroa ...

termite
s and
cockroach Cockroaches (or roaches) are insects of the order Blattodea, which also includes termite Termites are Eusociality, eusocial insects that are classified at the Taxonomy (biology), taxonomic rank of infraorder Isoptera, or as Taxonomic rank ...

cockroach
es (
Blattodea Blattodea is an order (biology), order of insects that contains cockroaches and termites. Formerly, the termites were considered a separate order, Isoptera, but genetics, genetic and molecular evidence suggests an intimate relationship with the c ...

Blattodea
), which are all within the
superorder In biological classification, the order ( la, ordo) is # a taxonomic rank Taxonomy (general) is the practice and science of classification of things or concepts, including the principles that underlie such classification. The term may also re ...
Dictyoptera Dictyoptera (from Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximately 10.7 ...
. Mantises are sometimes confused with stick insects (
Phasmatodea The Phasmatodea (also known as Phasmida, Phasmatoptera or Spectra) are an order Order or ORDER or Orders may refer to: * Orderliness Orderliness is associated with other qualities such as cleanliness Cleanliness is both the abstract state of ...

Phasmatodea
), other elongated insects such as
grasshopper Grasshoppers are a group of insect Insects (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''comm ...

grasshopper
s (
Orthoptera Orthoptera () is an order (biology), order of insects that comprises the grasshoppers, locusts, and cricket (insect), crickets, including closely related insects, such as the Tettigoniidae, bush crickets or katydids and wētā. The order is subdi ...

Orthoptera
), or other unrelated insects with
raptorial The term ''raptorial'' implies much the same as ''predator Predation is a biological interaction In ecology Ecology (from el, οἶκος, "house" and el, -λογία, label=none, "study of") is the study of the relationships betwe ...
forelegs such as mantisflies (
Mantispidae Mantispidae, known commonly as mantidflies, mantispids, mantid lacewings, mantisflies or mantis-flies, is a family In human society, family (from la, familia) is a group of people related either by consanguinity (by recognized birth) or ...

Mantispidae
). Mantises are mostly
ambush predator Ambush predators or sit-and-wait predators are carnivorous animal A carnivore , meaning "meat eater" (Latin, ''caro'', genitive ''carnis'', meaning "meat" or "flesh" and ''vorare'' meaning "to devour"), is an organism, animal whose food and e ...
s, but a few ground-dwelling species are found actively pursuing their prey. They normally live for about a year. In cooler climates, the adults lay eggs in autumn, then die. The eggs are protected by their hard capsules and hatch in the spring. Females sometimes practice
sexual cannibalism Sexual cannibalism is when an animal Cannibalism, cannibalizes its mate prior to, or after Copulation (zoology), copulation.Polis, G.A. & Farley, R.D. Behavior and Ecology of Mating in the journal of Arachnology 33-46 (1979). It is a trait observed ...
, eating their mates after copulation. Mantises were considered to have
supernatural powers The supernatural encompasses supposed phenomena that are not subject to the laws of nature.https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/supernatural By definition, a supernatural manifestation or event requires a violation of physical law Scien ...

supernatural powers
by early civilizations, including
Ancient Greece Ancient Greece ( el, Ἑλλάς, Hellás) was a civilization belonging to a period of History of Greece, Greek history from the Greek Dark Ages of the 12th–9th centuries BC to the end of Classical Antiquity, antiquity ( AD 600). This era wa ...
,
Ancient Egypt Ancient Egypt was a civilization  A civilization (or civilisation) is a that is characterized by , , a form of government, and systems of communication (such as ). Civilizations are intimately associated with additional char ...

Ancient Egypt
, and
Assyria Assyria (), also called the Assyrian Empire, was a Mesopotamia Mesopotamia ( grc, Μεσοποταμία ''Mesopotamíā''; ar, بِلَاد ٱلرَّافِدَيْن ; syc, ܐܪܡ ܢܗܪ̈ܝܢ, or , ) is a historical region of We ...

Assyria
. A cultural trope popular in
cartoon A cartoon is a type of illustration that is typically drawn, sometimes animated, in an unrealistic or semi-realistic style. The specific meaning has evolved over time, but the modern usage usually refers to either: an image or series of images ...

cartoon
s imagines the female mantis as a ''
femme fatale A ''femme fatale'' ( or ; , literally "fatal woman"), sometimes called a maneater or vamp, is a stock character Stock (also capital stock) is all of the shares into which ownership of a corporation is divided.Longman Business English Dic ...

femme fatale
''. Mantises are among the insects most commonly kept as
pet A pet, or companion animal, is an animal kept primarily for a person's company or entertainment rather than as a working animal, livestock or a laboratory animal. Popular pets are often considered to have attractive appearances, Animal cognitio ...

pet
s.


Taxonomy and evolution

Over 2,400 species of mantis in about 430 genera are recognized. They are predominantly found in tropical regions, but some live in temperate areas. The
systematics Biological Biology is the natural science Natural science is a branch of science Science (from the Latin word ''scientia'', meaning "knowledge") is a systematic enterprise that Scientific method, builds and Taxonomy (general), o ...
of mantises have long been disputed. Mantises, along with stick insects (
Phasmatodea The Phasmatodea (also known as Phasmida, Phasmatoptera or Spectra) are an order Order or ORDER or Orders may refer to: * Orderliness Orderliness is associated with other qualities such as cleanliness Cleanliness is both the abstract state of ...

Phasmatodea
), were once placed in the order
Orthoptera Orthoptera () is an order (biology), order of insects that comprises the grasshoppers, locusts, and cricket (insect), crickets, including closely related insects, such as the Tettigoniidae, bush crickets or katydids and wētā. The order is subdi ...

Orthoptera
with the cockroaches (now
Blattodea Blattodea is an order (biology), order of insects that contains cockroaches and termites. Formerly, the termites were considered a separate order, Isoptera, but genetics, genetic and molecular evidence suggests an intimate relationship with the c ...

Blattodea
) and ice crawlers (now
Grylloblattodea Grylloblattidae, the icebugs, or ice crawlers, is a family (biology), family of extremophile (psychrophile) and wingless insect, wingless insects that live in the cold on top of mountains and the edges of glaciers. They belong, along with Mantophas ...
). Kristensen (1991) combined the Mantodea with the cockroaches and
termite Termites are Eusociality, eusocial insects that are classified at the Taxonomy (biology), taxonomic rank of infraorder Isoptera, or alternatively as Taxonomic rank#All ranks, epifamily Termitoidae, within the order Blattodea (along with cockroa ...

termite
s into the order
Dictyoptera Dictyoptera (from Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximately 10.7 ...
, suborder Mantodea. The name ''mantodea'' is formed from the Ancient Greek words (''mantis'') meaning "prophet", and (''eidos'') meaning "form" or "type". It was coined in 1838 by the German entomologist
Hermann Burmeister Karl Hermann Konrad Burmeister (also known as Carlos Germán Conrado Burmeister) (15 January 1807 – 2 May 1892) was a German Argentine zoologist, entomologist, herpetologist, botany, botanist, and coleopterologist. He served as a professor at the ...
. The order is occasionally called the mantes, using a Latinized plural of Greek ''mantis''. The name mantid properly refers only to members of the family
Mantidae Mantidae is one of the largest families In human society, family (from la, familia) is a Social group, group of people related either by consanguinity (by recognized birth) or Affinity (law), affinity (by marriage or other relationship). T ...
, which was, historically, the only family in the order. The other common name, praying mantis, applied to any species in the order (though in Europe mainly to ''
Mantis religiosa The European mantis (''Mantis religiosa'') is a large hemimetabolic insect in the family of the Mantidae Mantidae is one of the largest families In human society, family (from la, familia) is a Social group, group of people related eit ...

Mantis religiosa
''), comes from the typical "
prayer Prayer is an invocation or act that seeks to activate a rapport with an object of worship through deliberate communication. In the narrow sense, the term refers to an act of supplication or intercession directed towards a deity or a deified an ...

prayer
-like" posture with folded forelimbs. The vernacular plural "mantises" (used in this article) was confined largely to the US, with "mantids" predominantly used as the plural in the UK and elsewhere, until the family Mantidae was further split in 2002.Ehrmann, R. 2002. Mantodea: Gottesanbeterinnen der Welt. Natur und Tier, Münster. One of the earliest classifications splitting an all-inclusive Mantidae into multiple families was that proposed by Beier in 1968, recognizing eight families, though it was not until Ehrmann's reclassification into 15 families in 2002 that a multiple-family classification became universally adopted. Klass, in 1997, studied the external male genitalia and postulated that the families
Chaeteessidae ''Chaeteessa'' is a genus of mantis in the monotypic In biology, a monotypic taxon is a taxonomic group ( taxon) that contains only one immediately subordinate taxon. A monotypic species In biology, a species is the basic unit of biol ...
and Metallyticidae diverged from the other families at an early date. However, as previously configured, the
Mantidae Mantidae is one of the largest families In human society, family (from la, familia) is a Social group, group of people related either by consanguinity (by recognized birth) or Affinity (law), affinity (by marriage or other relationship). T ...
and
Thespidae Thespidae is a family of Neotropical insects in the order superfamily group Amerimantodea, Mantodea. Following a major revision of this order in 2019, the old-world subfamilies Haaniinae and Hoplocoryphidae, Hoplocoryphinae, previously placed her ...
especially were considered
polyphyletic A polyphyletic group or assemblage is a set of organisms, or other evolving elements, that have been grouped together based on characteristics that do not imply that they share a common ancestor that is not also the common ancestor of many othe ...

polyphyletic
, so the Mantodea have been revised substantially as of 2019 and now includes 29 families.Schwarz CJ, Roy R (2019) The systematics of Mantodea revisited: an updated classification incorporating multiple data sources (Insecta: Dictyoptera) ''Annales de la Société entomologique de France (N.S.) International Journal of Entomology'' 55 [2]: 101-196.
/ref>


Fossil mantises

The earliest mantis fossils are about 140 million years old, from Siberia. Fossils of the group are rare: by 2007, only about 25 fossil species were known. Fossil mantises, including one from Japan with spines on the front legs as in modern mantises, have been found in
Cretaceous The Cretaceous ( ) is a geological period A geological period is one of the several subdivisions of geologic time enabling cross-referencing of rocks and geologic events from place to place. These periods form elements of a hierarchy of division ...

Cretaceous
amber. Most fossils in amber are nymphs; compression fossils (in rock) include adults. Fossil mantises from the
Crato Formation The Crato Formation is a geologic formation (stratigraphy), formation of Early Cretaceous (Aptian) age in northeastern Brazil's Araripe Basin. It is an important Lagerstätten, Lagerstätte (undisturbed fossil accumulation) for palaeontology, palae ...
in Brazil include the long '' Santanmantis axelrodi'', described in 2003; as in modern mantises, the front legs were adapted for catching prey. Well-preserved specimens yield details as small as 5 μm through
X-ray computed tomography An X-ray, or, much less commonly, X-radiation, is a penetrating form of high-energy electromagnetic radiation In physics Physics is the natural science that studies matter, its Elementary particle, fundamental constituents, its Moti ...
. Extinct families and genera include: * † Baissomantidae * † Gryllomantidae * † Cretomantidae * † Santanmantidae * ''
Incertae sedis ' () or ''problematica'' is a term used for a taxonomic Taxonomy (general) is the practice and science of classification of things or concepts, including the principles that underlie such classification. The term may also refer to a specific ...
'': ** †'' Jersimantis'' ** †'' Chaeteessites'' ** †'' Cretophotina'' ** †'' Ambermantis


Similar insects in the

Neuroptera The insect order Neuroptera, or net-winged insects, includes the lacewings, mantidflies, antlions, and their relatives. The order consists of some 6,000 species In biology, a species is the basic unit of biological classification, clas ...

Neuroptera

Because of the superficially similar
raptorial The term ''raptorial'' implies much the same as ''predator Predation is a biological interaction In ecology Ecology (from el, οἶκος, "house" and el, -λογία, label=none, "study of") is the study of the relationships betwe ...
forelegs A forelimb or front limb is one of the bilateral symmetry, paired joint, articulated appendages (limb (anatomy), limbs) attached on the cranial (anterior (anatomy), anterior) end of a terrestrial animal, terrestrial tetrapod vertebrate's torso. Wi ...
, may be confused with mantises, though they are unrelated. Their similarity is an example of
convergent evolution Convergent evolution is the independent evolution Evolution is change in the heritable Heredity, also called inheritance or biological inheritance, is the passing on of Phenotypic trait, traits from parents to their offspring; eit ...
; mantidflies do not have tegmina (leathery forewings) like mantises, their antennae are shorter and less thread-like, and the raptorial
tibia The tibia (; ), also known as the shinbone or shankbone, is the larger, stronger, and anterior (frontal) of the two bone A bone is a rigid tissue Tissue may refer to: Biology * Tissue (biology), an ensemble of similar cells that together ...

tibia
is more muscular than that of a similar-sized mantis and bends back farther in preparation for shooting out to grasp prey. Another example of confusion caused by convergent evolution is Titanoptera, an order of insect that lived in the Triassic period and also shared the Raptorial forelegs of a mantis.


Biology


Anatomy

Mantises have large, triangular heads with a beak-like snout and
mandible In anatomy Anatomy (Greek ''anatomē'', 'dissection') is the branch of biology concerned with the study of the structure of organisms and their parts. Anatomy is a branch of natural science which deals with the structural organization of li ...

mandible
s. They have two bulbous
compound eyes Eyes are organs An organ is a group of tissues with similar functions. Plant life and animal life rely on many organs that co-exist in organ systems. A given organ's tissues can be broadly categorized as parenchyma Parenchyma () is th ...
, three small simple eyes, and a pair of
antennae Antenna (pl. antennas or antennae) may refer to: Science and engineering * Antenna (radio), also known as an aerial, a transducer designed to transmit or receive electromagnetic (e.g., TV or radio) waves * Antennae Galaxies, the name of two coll ...
. The articulation of the neck is also remarkably flexible; some species of mantis can rotate their heads nearly 180°. The mantis thorax consists of a
prothorax The prothorax is the foremost of the three segments in the thorax The thorax or chest is a part of the anatomy of humans, mammals, other tetrapod animals located between the neck and the abdomen. In insects, crustaceans, and the extinct trilob ...
, a
mesothorax The mesothorax is the middle of the three segments in the Thorax (insect anatomy), thorax of an insect, and bears the second pair of legs. Its principal sclerites (exoskeletal plates) are the mesonotum (Dorsum (biology), dorsal), the mesosternum (ve ...
, and a
metathorax The metathorax is the posterior of the three segments in the thorax The thorax or chest is a part of the anatomy Anatomy (Greek ''anatomē'', 'dissection') is the branch of biology Biology is the natural science that studies life an ...
. In all species apart from the genus '' Mantoida'', the prothorax, which bears the head and forelegs, is much longer than the other two thoracic segments. The prothorax is also flexibly articulated, allowing for a wide range of movements of the head and fore limbs while the remainder of the body remains more or less immobile. Mantises also are unique to the
Dictyoptera Dictyoptera (from Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximately 10.7 ...
in that they have tympanate hearing, with two tympana in an auditory chamber in their metathorax. Most mantises can only hear
ultrasound Ultrasound is sound wave In physics Physics is the that studies , its , its and behavior through , and the related entities of and . "Physical science is that department of knowledge which relates to the order of nature, or, ...

ultrasound
. Mantises have two spiked, grasping forelegs ("raptorial legs") in which prey items are caught and held securely. In most insect legs, including the posterior four legs of a mantis, the coxa and trochanter combine as an inconspicuous base of the leg; in the raptorial legs, however, the coxa and trochanter combine to form a segment about as long as the
femur The femur (; ), or thigh bone, is the proximal Standard anatomical terms of location deal unambiguously with the anatomy of animals, including humans. Terms used generally derive from Latin or Greek language, Greek roots and used to describe s ...

femur
, which is a spiky part of the grasping apparatus (see illustration). Located at the base of the femur is a set of discoidal spines, usually four in number, but ranging from none to as many as five depending on the species. These spines are preceded by a number of tooth-like tubercles, which, along with a similar series of tubercles along the tibia and the apical claw near its tip, give the foreleg of the mantis its grasp on its prey. The foreleg ends in a delicate tarsus used as a walking appendage, made of four or five segments and ending in a two-toed claw with no
aroliumThe arthropod leg is a form of jointed appendage of arthropods, usually used for walking. Many of the terms used for arthropod leg segments (called podomeres) are of Latin origin, and may be confused with terms for bones: ''coxa'' (meaning hip (anato ...
. Mantises can be loosely categorized as being macropterous (long-winged), brachypterous (short-winged), micropterous (vestigial-winged), or apterous (wingless). If not wingless, a mantis has two sets of wings: the outer wings, or tegmina, are usually narrow and leathery. They function as camouflage and as a shield for the hindwings, which are clearer and more delicate. The abdomen of all mantises consists of 10
tergites A tergum (Latin for "the back"; plural terga, associated adjective tergal) is the Anatomical terms of location#Dorsal and ventral, dorsal ('upper') portion of an arthropod segment other than the head. The Anatomical terms of location#Anterior and po ...
, with a corresponding set of nine
sternites The sternum (pl. "sterna") is the Anatomical_terms_of_location#Dorsal_and_ventral, ventral portion of a segment of an arthropod thorax or abdomen. In insects, the sterna are usually single, large sclerites, and external. However, they can sometim ...
visible in males and seven visible in females. The abdomen tends to be slimmer in males than females, but ends in a pair of cerci in both sexes.


Vision

Mantises have
stereo vision Stereopsis (from the Greek στερεο- '' stereo-'' meaning "solid", and ὄψις ''opsis'', "appearance, sight") is a term that is most often used to refer to the perception of depth and 3-dimensional structure obtained on the basis of visua ...
. They locate their prey by sight; their compound eyes contain up to 10,000
ommatidia thumbnail, Ommatidia of a krill. The compound eyes of arthropods An arthropod (, (gen. ποδός)) is an invertebrate Invertebrates are animals that neither possess nor develop a vertebral column (commonly known as a ''backbone'' or ''spin ...
. A small area at the front called the fovea has greater visual acuity than the rest of the eye, and can produce the high resolution necessary to examine potential prey. The peripheral ommatidia are concerned with perceiving motion; when a moving object is noticed, the head is rapidly rotated to bring the object into the visual field of the fovea. Further motions of the prey are then tracked by movements of the mantis's head so as to keep the image centered on the fovea. The eyes are widely spaced and laterally situated, affording a wide and precise stereoscopic vision at close range. The dark spot on each eye that moves as it rotates its head is a pseudopupil. This occurs because the ommatidia that are viewed "head-on" absorb the
incident light In optics a ray is an idealized geometrical model of light, obtained by choosing a curve that is perpendicular to the wavefronts of the actual light, and that points in the direction of energy transfer, energy flow. Rays are used to model the pro ...
, while those to the side reflect it. As their hunting relies heavily on vision, mantises are primarily
diurnal Diurnal ("daily Daily or The Daily may refer to: Journalism * Daily newspaper A newspaper is a Periodical literature, periodical publication containing written News, information about current events and is often typed in black ink with a ...
. Many species, however, fly at night, and then may be attracted to artificial lights. Mantises in the family Liturgusidae collected at night have been shown to be predominately males; this is probably true for most mantises. Nocturnal flight is especially important to males in locating less-mobile females by detecting their
pheromone A pheromone (from Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language Greek ( el, label=Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , or , ''Kiní Neoellinikí Glóssa''), generally referred to by speakers simply as Greek (, ...

pheromone
s. Flying at night exposes mantises to fewer bird predators than diurnal flight would. Many mantises also have an auditory thoracic organ that helps them avoid bats by detecting their calls and responding evasively.


Diet and hunting

Mantises are generalist
predator Predation is a biological interaction In ecology Ecology (from el, οἶκος, "house" and el, -λογία, label=none, "study of") is the study of the relationships between living organisms, including humans, and their physical en ...

predator
s of
arthropod An arthropod (, (gen. ποδός)) is an invertebrate animal having an exoskeleton, a Segmentation (biology), segmented body, and paired jointed appendages. Arthropods form the phylum Euarthropoda,Reference showing that Euarthropoda is a phylum: ...
s. The majority of mantises are
ambush predator Ambush predators or sit-and-wait predators are carnivorous animal A carnivore , meaning "meat eater" (Latin, ''caro'', genitive ''carnis'', meaning "meat" or "flesh" and ''vorare'' meaning "to devour"), is an organism, animal whose food and e ...
s that only feed upon live prey within their reach. They either camouflage themselves and remain stationary, waiting for prey to approach, or stalk their prey with slow, stealthy movements. Larger mantises sometimes eat smaller individuals of their own species, as well as small vertebrates such as lizards, frogs, fish, and particularly small birds. Most mantises stalk tempting prey if it strays close enough, and will go further when they are especially hungry. Once within reach, mantises strike rapidly to grasp the prey with their spiked raptorial forelegs. Some ground and bark species pursue their prey in a more active way. For example, members of a few genera such as the ground mantises, ''Entella'', ''Ligaria'', and ''Ligariella'' run over dry ground seeking prey, much as
tiger beetle Tiger beetles are a large group of beetle Beetles are a group of insects that form the Taxonomic rank, order Coleoptera (), in the superorder Endopterygota. Their front pair of wings are hardened into wing-cases, Elytron, elytra, distinguis ...
s do. The fore gut of some species extends the whole length of the insect and can be used to store prey for digestion later. This may be advantageous in an insect that feeds intermittently.
Chinese mantis The Chinese mantis (''Tenodera sinensis'') is a species of mantis native to Asia and the nearby islands. In 1896 this species was accidentally introduced by a nurseryperson at Mount Airy, Philadelphia, Mt. Airy near Philadelphia, United States. '' ...

Chinese mantis
es live longer, grow faster, and produce more young when they are able to eat
pollen Pollen is a powdery substance consisting of pollen grains which are microsporophytes of seed plants The spermatophytes (; ), also known as phanerogams (taxon Phanerogamae) or phaenogams (taxon Phaenogamae), comprise those plant Plant ...

pollen
.


Antipredator adaptations

Mantises are preyed on by vertebrates such as frogs, lizards, and birds, and by invertebrates such as spiders, , and ants. Some hunting wasps, such as some species of '' Tachytes'' also paralyse some species of mantis to feed their young. Generally, mantises protect themselves by camouflage, most species being cryptically colored to resemble
foliage A leaf (plural leaves) is the principal lateral appendage of the vascular plant Vascular plants (from Latin ''vasculum'': duct), also known as Tracheophyta (the tracheophytes , from Greek τραχεῖα ἀρτηρία ''trācheia art ...

foliage
or other backgrounds, both to avoid predators and to better snare their prey. Those that live on uniformly colored surfaces such as bare earth or tree bark are dorsoventrally flattened so as to eliminate shadows that might reveal their presence. The species from different families called
flower mantis Flower mantises are praying mantis species that display behaviors of mimicry In evolutionary biology Evolutionary biology is the subfield of biology that studies the evolution, evolutionary processes (natural selection, common descent, ...
es are aggressive mimics: they resemble flowers convincingly enough to attract prey that come to collect pollen and nectar. Some species in Africa and Australia are able to turn black after a molt towards the end of the dry season; at this time of year, bush fires occur and this coloration enables them to blend in with the fire-ravaged landscape ( fire melanism). When directly threatened, many mantis species stand tall and spread their forelegs, with their wings fanning out wide. The fanning of the wings makes the mantis seem larger and more threatening, with some species enhancing this effect with bright colors and patterns on their hindwings and inner surfaces of their front legs. If harassment persists, a mantis may strike with its forelegs and attempt to pinch or bite. As part of the bluffing (
deimatic Deimatic behaviour or startle display means any pattern of bluffing behaviour Behavior (American English American English (AmE, AE, AmEng, USEng, en-US), sometimes called United States English or U.S. English, is the set of varieties ...
)
threat display A threat is a communication of intent to inflict harm or loss on another person. IntimidationIntimidation (also called cowing) is intentional behavior that "would cause a person of ordinary sensibilities" to fear injury Injury, also known a ...
, some species may also produce a hissing sound by expelling air from the abdominal spiracles. Mantises lack chemical protection, so their displays are largely bluff. When flying at night, at least some mantises are able to detect the echolocation sounds produced by bats; when the frequency begins to increase rapidly, indicating an approaching bat, they stop flying horizontally and begin a descending spiral toward the safety of the ground, often preceded by an aerial loop or spin. If caught, they may slash captors with their raptorial legs. Mantises, like
stick insect The Phasmatodea (also known as Phasmida, Phasmatoptera or Spectra) are an Order (biology), order of insects whose members are variously known as stick insects, stick-bugs, walking sticks, or bug sticks. They are generally referred to as phasmato ...

stick insect
s, show rocking behavior in which the insect makes rhythmic, repetitive side-to-side movements. Functions proposed for this behavior include the enhancement of
crypsis In ecology Ecology (from el, οἶκος, "house" and el, -λογία, label=none, "study of") is the study of the relationships between living organisms, including humans, and their physical environment. Ecology considers organisms ...
by means of the resemblance to vegetation moving in the wind. However, the repetitive swaying movements may be most important in allowing the insects to discriminate objects from the background by their relative movement, a visual mechanism typical of animals with simpler sight systems. Rocking movements by these generally sedentary insects may replace flying or running as a source of relative motion of objects in the visual field. As ants may be predators of mantises, genera such as '' Loxomantis'', '' Orthodera'', and '' Statilia'', like many other arthropods, avoid attacking them. Exploiting this behavior, a variety of arthropods, including some early-instar mantises, mimic ants to evade their predators. Choeradodis stalii MHNT dos.jpg, Leaf
mimicry In evolutionary biology, mimicry is an evolved resemblance between an organism and another object, often an organism of another species. Mimicry may evolve between different species, or between individuals of the same species. Often, mimicry f ...

mimicry
: ''
Choeradodis ''Choeradodis'' is a genus Genus /ˈdʒiː.nəs/ (plural genera /ˈdʒen.ər.ə/) is a taxonomic rank In biological classification In biology, taxonomy () is the scientific study of naming, defining (Circumscription (taxonomy), circ ...

Choeradodis
'' has leaf-like forewings and a widened green
thorax The thorax or chest is a part of the anatomy Anatomy (Greek ''anatomē'', 'dissection') is the branch of biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical structure, Bioc ...
. Gottesanbeterin Abwehr.JPG, Adult female '' Iris oratoria'' performs a bluffing
threat display A threat is a communication of intent to inflict harm or loss on another person. IntimidationIntimidation (also called cowing) is intentional behavior that "would cause a person of ordinary sensibilities" to fear injury Injury, also known a ...
, rearing back with the forelegs and wings spread and mouth opened. Gemmatus.jpg, The jeweled flower mantis, ''
Creobroter gemmatus ''Creobroter gemmatus'', common name jeweled flower mantis, is a species of praying mantis native to Asia. Description Males grow to about 1.5 inches (3.8 cm) and females are slightly larger. They prefer a humidity, humid environment and li ...
'': the brightly colored wings are opened suddenly in a
deimatic display Deimatic behaviour or startle display means any pattern of bluffing behaviour in an animal that lacks strong defences, such as suddenly displaying conspicuous eyespots, to scare off or momentarily distract a predator, thus giving the prey animal ...
to startle predators. Ant-Mantis.jpg, Some mantis
nymphs A nymph ( grc, νύμφη, nýmphē, el, script=Latn, nímfi, label=Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , or , ''Kiní Neoellinikí Glóssa''), generally referred to by speakers simply as Greek (, ), refers collectively to the dialects of the Gree ...
mimic ants to avoid predators.


Reproduction and life history

The mating season in temperate climates typically takes place in autumn, while in tropical areas, mating can occur at any time of the year. To mate following courtship, the male usually leaps onto the female's back, clasping her thorax and wing bases with his forelegs. He then arches his abdomen to deposit and store sperm in a special chamber near the tip of the female's abdomen. The female lays between 10 and 400 eggs, depending on the species. Eggs are typically deposited in a froth mass-produced by
gland In animals, a gland is a group of cells in an animal's body that synthesizes substances (such as hormone A hormone (from the Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλά ...

gland
s in the abdomen. This froth hardens, creating a protective capsule, which together with the egg mass is called an
ootheca Mantis ootheca An ootheca (pl. ''oothecae'' ) is a type of Egg (biology), egg mass made by any member of a variety of species including Mollusca, mollusks (such as ''Turbinella laevigata''), Mantidae, mantises, and cockroaches. The word is a La ...

ootheca
. Depending on the species, the ootheca can be attached to a flat surface, wrapped around a plant, or even deposited in the ground. Despite the versatility and durability of the eggs, they are often preyed on, especially by several species of
parasitoid wasp Parasitoid wasps are a large group of hymenopteran Superfamily (zoology), superfamilies, with all but the wood wasps (Orussoidea) being in the wasp-waisted Apocrita. As parasitoids, they lay their eggs on or in the bodies of other arthropods, ...
s. In a few species, mostly ground and bark mantises in the family
Tarachodidae Tarachodidae is a now obsolete family in the order Mantodea, of genera found in Africa and Asia. Former subfamilies The family previously consisted of two subfamilies of "bark mantises": Caliridinae These genera have now been moved to the new fam ...
, the mother guards the eggs. The cryptic '' Tarachodes maurus'' positions herself on bark with her abdomen covering her egg capsule, ambushing passing prey and moving very little until the eggs hatch. An unusual reproductive strategy is adopted by from the southern United States; no males have ever been found in this species, and the females breed parthenogenetically. The ability to reproduce by parthenogenesis has been recorded in at least two other species, '''' and ''Miomantis'' sp., although these species usually reproduce sexually. In temperate climates, adults do not survive the winter and the eggs undergo a
diapause In animal dormancy, diapause is the delay in development in response to regularly and recurring periods of adverse environmental conditions.Tauber, M.J., Tauber, C.A., Masaki, S. (1986) ''Seasonal Adaptations of Insects''. Oxford University Press ...
, hatching in the spring. As in closely related insect groups in the superorder Dictyoptera, mantises go through three life stages: egg, nymph, and adult (mantises are among the
hemimetabolous Hemimetabolism or hemimetaboly, also called incomplete Metamorphosis (biology), metamorphosis and paurometabolism,McGavin, George C. ''Essential Entomology: An Order-by-Order Introduction''. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001. pp. 20. is the mode ...
insects). For smaller species, the eggs may hatch in 3–4 weeks as opposed to 4–6 weeks for larger species. The nymphs may be colored differently from the adult, and the early stages are often mimics of ants. A mantis nymph grows bigger as it molts its
exoskeleton An exoskeleton (from Greek έξω, ''éxō'' "outer" and σκελετός, ''skeletós'' "skeleton") is the external skeleton A skeleton is a structural frame that supports an animal Animals (also called Metazoa) are multicellular ...

exoskeleton
. Molting can happen five to 10 times before the adult stage is reached, depending on the species. After the final molt, most species have wings, though some species remain wingless or brachypterous ("short-winged"), particularly in the female sex. The lifespan of a mantis depends on the species; smaller ones may live 4–8 weeks, while larger species may live 4–6 months. File:Mantis religiosa couple.JPG, ''
Mantis religiosa The European mantis (''Mantis religiosa'') is a large hemimetabolic insect in the family of the Mantidae Mantidae is one of the largest families In human society, family (from la, familia) is a Social group, group of people related eit ...

Mantis religiosa
'' mating (brown male, green female) File:Mantis laying ootheca.jpg, '''' laying
ootheca Mantis ootheca An ootheca (pl. ''oothecae'' ) is a type of Egg (biology), egg mass made by any member of a variety of species including Mollusca, mollusks (such as ''Turbinella laevigata''), Mantidae, mantises, and cockroaches. The word is a La ...

ootheca
File:Mantis religiosa (egg case).jpg, Recently laid ''M. religiosa'' ootheca File:PrayingMantisesJustBorn (cropped).jpg, Hatching from the ootheca File:Sphodromantis Lineola molting.jpg, '' Sphodromantis lineola'' molting


Sexual cannibalism

Sexual cannibalism is common among most predatory species of mantises in captivity. It has sometimes been observed in natural populations, where about a quarter of male-female encounters result in the male being eaten by the female. Around 90% of the predatory species of mantises exhibit sexual cannibalism. Adult males typically outnumber females at first, but their numbers may be fairly equivalent later in the adult stage, possibly because females selectively eat the smaller males. In ''
Tenodera sinensis The Chinese mantis (''Tenodera sinensis'') is a species of mantis native to Asia and the nearby islands. In 1896 this species was accidentally introduced by a nurseryperson at Mount Airy, Philadelphia, Mt. Airy near Philadelphia, United States. '' ...

Tenodera sinensis
'', 83% of males escape cannibalism after an encounter with a female, but since multiple matings occur, the probability of a male's being eaten increases cumulatively. The female may begin feeding by biting off the male's head (as they do with regular prey), and if mating has begun, the male's movements may become even more vigorous in its delivery of sperm. Early researchers thought that because copulatory movement is controlled by a
ganglion A ganglion is a group of neuron cell bodies in the peripheral nervous system The peripheral nervous system (PNS) is one of two components that make up the nervous system In biology Biology is the natural science that studies li ...

ganglion
in the abdomen, not the head, removal of the male's head was a reproductive strategy by females to enhance fertilization while obtaining sustenance. Later, this behavior appeared to be an artifact of intrusive laboratory observation. Whether the behavior is natural in the field or also the result of distractions caused by the human observer remains controversial. Mantises are highly visual organisms and notice any disturbance in the laboratory or field, such as bright lights or moving scientists. Chinese mantises that had been fed ''
ad libitum In music, biology, and drama, the phrase ''ad libitum'' (; from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin '' ...
'' (so that they were not hungry) actually displayed elaborate courtship behavior when left undisturbed. The male engages the female in a courtship dance, to change her interest from feeding to mating. Under such circumstances, the female has been known to respond with a defensive deimatic display by flashing the colored eyespots on the inside of her front legs. The reason for sexual cannibalism has been debated; experiments show that females on poor diets are likelier to engage in sexual cannibalism than those on good diets. Some hypothesize that submissive males gain a selective advantage by producing offspring; this is supported by a quantifiable increase in the duration of copulation among males which are cannibalized, in some cases doubling both the duration and the chance of fertilization. This is contrasted by a study where males were seen to approach hungry females with more caution, and were shown to remain mounted on hungry females for a longer time, indicating that males that actively avoid cannibalism may mate with multiple females. The same study also found that hungry females generally attracted fewer males than those that were well fed. The act of dismounting after copulation is dangerous for males, for it is the time that females most frequently cannibalize their mates. An increase in mounting duration appears to indicate that males wait for an opportune time to dismount a hungry female, who would be likely to cannibalize her mate. Experiments have revealed that the sex ratio in an environment determines male copulatory behavior of ''Mantis religiosa'' which in turn affects the cannibalistic tendencies of the female and support the sperm competition hypothesis because the polyandrous treatment recorded the highest copulation duration time and lowest cannibalism. This further suggests that dismounting the female can make males susceptible to cannibalism.


Relationship with humans


In literature and art

One of the earliest mantis references is in the ancient Chinese dictionary ''
Erya The ''Erya'' or ''Erh-ya'' is the first surviving Chinese dictionary Chinese dictionaries date back over two millennia to the Han Dynasty, which is a significantly longer lexicographical history than any other language. There are hundreds of dict ...
'', which gives its attributes in poetry, where it represents courage and fearlessness, and a brief description. A later text, the ''Jingshi Zhenglei Daguan Bencao '' ("Great History of Medical Material Annotated and Arranged by Types, Based upon the Classics and Historical Works") from 1108, gives accurate details of the construction of the egg packages, the development cycle, anatomy, and the function of the antennae. Although mantises are rarely mentioned in Ancient Greek sources, a female mantis in threat posture is accurately illustrated on a series of fifth-century BC silver coins, including
didrachm The drachma ( el, δραχμή The drachma ( el, wikt:δραχμή, δραχμή , ; pl. ''drachmae'' or ''drachmas'') was the currency used in Greece during several periods in its history: # An Ancient Greece, ancient Greek currency uni ...
s, from
Metapontum Metapontum or Metapontium ( grc, Μεταπόντιον, Metapontion) was an important city of Magna Graecia Magna Graecia (, ; Latin meaning "Greater Greece", grc, Μεγάλη Ἑλλάς, ', it, Magna Grecia) was the name given by the Roman ...
in
Lucania Lucania ( grc-gre, Λευκανία, Leukanía, Lefkanía (Modern Greek)) was a historical region of Southern Italy. It was the land of the Lucanians, Lucani, an Oscan people. It extended from the Tyrrhenian Sea to the Gulf of Taranto. It borde ...

Lucania
. In the 10th century AD,
Byzantine The Byzantine Empire, also referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire, or Byzantium, was the continuation of the Roman Empire in its eastern provinces during Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, when its capital city was Constantinople. It survi ...
era ''Adages'', describes an insect resembling a slow-moving green locust with long front legs. He translates
Zenobius Zenobius ( grc-gre, Ζηνόβιος) was a Greece, Greek sophist, who taught rhetoric at Rome during the reign of Emperor Hadrian (AD 117–138). Biography He was the author of a collection of proverbs in three books, still extant in an abridged ...

Zenobius
2.94 with the words ''seriphos'' (maybe a mantis) and ''graus'', an old woman, implying a thin, dried-up stick of a body. Mantises are a common motif in Luna Polychrome ceramics of pre-Columbian Nicaragua, and are believed to represent a deity or spirit called "Madre Culebra". Western descriptions of the biology and morphology of the mantises became more accurate in the 18th century. Roesel von Rosenhof illustrated and described mantises and their cannibalistic behavior in the ' (''Insect Entertainments'').
Aldous Huxley Aldous Leonard Huxley (26 July 1894 – 22 November 1963) was an English writer and philosopher. He wrote nearly 50 books—both novels and non-fiction works—as well as wide-ranging essays, narratives, and poems. Born into the prominent Huxl ...

Aldous Huxley
made philosophical observations about the nature of death while two mantises mated in the sight of two characters in his 1962 novel ''
Island An island (or isle) is an isolated piece of habitat that is surrounded by a dramatically different habitat, such as water. Very small islands such as emergent land features on atoll An atoll (), sometimes known as a coral atoll, i ...
'' (the species was ''
Gongylus gongylodes ''Gongylus'' is a genus of Mantodea, praying mantises in the family Empusidae. Characterized by extremely slender limbs with large appendages, at least one species (''Gongylus gongylodes'') is kept as a pet by hobbyists. Males of the species are ...

Gongylus gongylodes
''). The naturalist
Gerald Durrell Gerald Malcolm Durrell, (7 January 1925 – 30 January 1995) was a British naturalist, writer, zookeeper, conservationist, and television presenter. He founded the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust is ...
's humorously autobiographical 1956 book ''
My Family and Other Animals ''My Family and Other Animals'' (1956) is an autobiographical work by British naturalist Gerald Durrell. It tells in an exaggerated and sometimes fictionalised way of the years that he lived as a child with his siblings and widowed mother on ...
'' includes a four-page account of an almost evenly matched battle between a mantis and a
gecko Geckos are small, mostly carnivorous lizards that have a wide distribution, found on every continent except Antarctica. Belonging to the infraorder#Hierarchy of ranks, infraorder Gekkota, geckos are found in warm climates throughout the world. T ...

gecko
. Shortly before the fatal ''
dénouement Dramatic structure is the structure of a dramatic work such as a Play (theater), play or film. Many scholars have analyzed dramatic structure, beginning with Aristotle in his ''Poetics (Aristotle), Poetics'' (c. 335 BCE). This article looks at Ar ...
'', Durrell narrates: M. C. Escher's woodcut ''Dream'' depicts a human-sized mantis standing on a sleeping bishop. The 1957 film ''
The Deadly Mantis ''The Deadly Mantis'' is a 1957 American science-fiction Space exploration, as predicted in August 1958 in the science fiction magazine ''Imagination (magazine)">Imagination.'' Science fiction (sometimes shortened to sci-fi or SF) is a genr ...
'' features a mantis as a
giant monster In folklore, giants (from Ancient Greek: ''wiktionary:gigas, gigas'', cognate wiktionary:giga-, giga-) are beings of human-like appearance, but are at times prodigious in size and strength or bear an otherwise notable appearance. The word ''gian ...
. In the 1967 film ''
Son of Godzilla is a 1967 Japanese ''kaiju'' film directed by Jun Fukuda, with special effects by Sadamasa Arikawa, under the supervision of Eiji Tsuburaya. Produced and distributed by Toho Studios, it is the eighth film in the ''Godzilla'' franchise. It st ...
'' and other related films, the
kaiju is a Japanese genre of films and television featuring giant monster A monster is a type of fictional creature found in horror Horror may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Genres *Horror fiction, a genre of fiction **Japanese ho ...
called "
Kamacuras is a kaiju is a Japanese genre of films and television featuring giant monsters. The term ''kaiju'' can refer to the giant monsters themselves, which are usually depicted attacking major cities and engaging the military, or other ''kaiju'', in ...
" are giant mantis monsters. A cultural trope imagines the female mantis as a ''
femme fatale A ''femme fatale'' ( or ; , literally "fatal woman"), sometimes called a maneater or vamp, is a stock character Stock (also capital stock) is all of the shares into which ownership of a corporation is divided.Longman Business English Dic ...

femme fatale
''. The idea is propagated in cartoons by Cable, Guy and Rodd, LeLievre, T. McCracken, and Mark Parisi, among others. It ends
Isabella Rossellini Isabella Fiorella Elettra Giovanna Rossellini (born 18 June 1952) is an Italian-American actress, author, philanthropist, and former model. The daughter of the Swedish actress Ingrid Bergman and the Italian film director Roberto Rossellini, she i ...

Isabella Rossellini
's short film about the life of a praying mantis in her 2008 '' Green Porno'' season for the
Sundance ChannelSundance Channel can refer to: * Sundance TV Sundance TV (formerly known as Sundance Channel) is an American pay television Pay television also known as subscription television, premium television or, when referring to an individual service, a p ...
.
Zorak Zorak is a fictional character who first appeared in the Hanna-Barbera Hanna-Barbera Productions, Inc. ( ), also variously known as H-B Enterprises, H-B Production Co., and Hanna-Barbera Cartoons, Inc., was an American animation studio An a ...
, a character from ''Space Ghost'', is also a mantis, and his species is a Dokarian.


Martial arts

Two
martial arts Martial arts are codified systems and traditions of combat practiced for a number of reasons such as self-defense; military and law enforcement applications; combat sport, competition; physical, mental, and spiritual development; entertainment; an ...
separately developed in China have movements and fighting strategies based on those of the mantis. As one of these arts was developed in northern China, and the other in southern parts of the country, the arts are today referred to (both in English and Chinese) as ' Northern Praying Mantis' and '
Southern Praying Mantis Southern Praying Mantis () is a Chinese martial art Chinese martial arts, often named under the umbrella terms Kung fu (term), kung fu (; ), kuoshu () or wushu (), are Styles of Chinese martial arts, several hundred fighting styles that have ...
'. Both are very popular in China, and have also been exported to the West in recent decades.


In mythology and religion

The mantis was revered by the southern African
Khoi Khoekhoen (singular Khoekhoe) (or Khoikhoi in the former orthography; formerly also '' Hottentots''"Hottentot, n. and adj." ''OED Online'', Oxford University Press, March 2018, www.oed.com/view/Entry/88829. Accessed 13 May 2018. Citing G. S. ...
and San in whose cultures man and nature were intertwined; for its praying posture, the mantis was even named ' ("god of the Hottentots") in the
Afrikaans Afrikaans (, ) is a West Germanic language spoken in South Africa South Africa, officially the Republic of South Africa (RSA), is the southernmost country in Africa. With over 60 million people, it is the world's 23rd-most po ...
language that had developed among the first European settlers. However, at least for the San, the mantis was only one of the manifestations of a trickster-deity, ǀKaggen, who could assume many other forms, such as a snake, hare or vulture. Several ancient civilizations did consider the insect to have supernatural powers; for the Greeks, it had the ability to show lost travelers the way home; in the
Ancient Egypt Ancient Egypt was a civilization  A civilization (or civilisation) is a that is characterized by , , a form of government, and systems of communication (such as ). Civilizations are intimately associated with additional char ...

Ancient Egypt
ian ''
Book of the Dead The ''Book of the Dead'' is an ancient Egyptian funerary text The literature that makes up the ancient Egyptian funerary texts is a collection of religious documents that were used in ancient Egypt Ancient Egypt was a civilization ...
'', the "bird-fly" is a minor god that leads the souls of the dead to the underworld; in a list of 9th-century BC
Nineveh Nineveh (; ar, نَيْنَوَىٰ '; syr, ܢܝܼܢܘܹܐ, Nīnwē; akk, ) was an ancient Assyria Assyria (), also called the Assyrian Empire, was a n kingdom and of the that existed as a state from perhaps as early as the 25th ...
grasshoppers (''buru''), the mantis is named
necromancer Necromancy () is the practice of magic involving communication with the dead – either by summoning their spirit In folk beliefIn folkloristics, folk belief or folk-belief is a broad genre of folklore that is often expressed in narrativ ...
(''buru-enmeli'') and (''buru-enmeli-ashaga''). Some pre-Columbian cultures in western Nicaragua have preserved oral traditions of the mantis as "Madre Culebra", a powerful predator and symbol of female symbolic authority.


As pets

Mantises are among the insects most widely kept as pets. Because the lifespan of a mantis is only about a year, people who want to keep mantises often breed them. In 2013 at least 31 species were kept and bred in the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, and the United States. In 1996 at least 50 species were known to be kept in captivity by members of the Mantis Study Group. ''
The Independent ''The Independent'' is a British online newspaper An online newspaper (or electronic news or electronic news publication) is the electronic publishing, online version of a newspaper, either as a stand-alone publication or as the online ver ...
'' described the "giant Asian praying mantis" as "part stick insect with a touch of Buddhist monk", and stated that they needed a
vivarium A vivarium (Latin, literally for "place of life"; plural: ''vivaria'' or ''vivariums'') is an area, usually enclosed, for keeping and raising animals or plants for observation or research. Often, a portion of the ecosystem An ecosystem ( ...

vivarium
around 30 cm (12 in) on each side. ''The Daily South'' argued that a pet insect was no weirder than a pet rat or
ferret The ferret (''Mustela furo'') is a small, domesticated Domestication is a sustained multi-generational relationship in which one group of organisms assumes a significant degree of influence over the reproduction and care of another group to s ...

ferret
, and that while a pet mantis was unusual, it would not "bark, shed, need shots or a litter box".


For pest control

Naturally occurring mantis populations provide plant pest control. Gardeners who prefer to avoid
pesticide Pesticides are substances that are meant to control pests Pest or The Pest may refer to: Science and medicine * Pest (organism), an animal or plant detrimental to humans or human concerns ** Weed, a plant considered undesirable * Infectious d ...
s may encourage mantises in the hope of controlling insect pests. However, mantises do not have key attributes of
biological pest control Biological control or biocontrol is a method of controlling pests such as insect Insects (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was ...
agents; they do not specialize in a single pest insect, and do not multiply rapidly in response to an increase in such a prey species, but are general predators. They eat whatever they can catch, including both harmful and beneficial insects. They therefore have "negligible value" in biological control. Two species, the Chinese mantis and the European mantis, were deliberately introduced to North America in the hope that they would serve as pest controls for agriculture; they have spread widely in both the United States and Canada.


Mantis-like robot

A prototype
robot A robot is a machine—especially one Computer program, programmable by a computer—capable of carrying out a complex series of actions automatically. A robot can be guided by an external control device, or the robot control, control may be ...

robot
inspired by the forelegs of the praying mantis has front legs that allow the robot to
walk Walking (also known as ambulation) is one of the main gait Gait is the pattern of movement Movement may refer to: Common uses * Movement (clockwork), the internal mechanism of a timepiece * Motion (physics), commonly referred to as move ...

walk
, climb steps, and grasp objects. The multi-jointed leg provides dexterity via a rotatable joint. Future models may include a more spiked foreleg to improve the grip and ability to support more weight.


References


External links

* *
Mantis Study Group
– Information on mantises, phylogenetics and evolution.
Mantodea Species File
{{Authority control Extant Cretaceous first appearances Insects used as insect pest control agents Insects in culture Taxa named by Hermann Burmeister