Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Leggy Bugs--Praying Mantises

This bug is a fascinating study in bug looks for more than just legginess (big 'uns). The proper spelling is "praying", not its homophone "preying". From "PRAYING MANTIS INFORMATION AND STUDY", "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)." Evidently, they're built for predation with their "grasping, spiked forelegs called 'raptorial legs' (illustration)".

Prayingmantisshop notes the flexibility of the head—"permitting nearly 300 degrees of movement in some species and allowing for a great range of vision without the need to move their bodies". As for more physical information, the site notes "Praying mantises are often confused with phasmids (stick-leaf insects) and other elongated insects". Coincidentally, my previous article is about such bugs—"Leggy Bugs--Walking Sticks".

Praying mantises are noteworthy for the following main physical features:
Bugguide.net's site "Order Mantodea - Mantids" summarizes:
Relatively large, elongate insects up to several inches long. Typical features include triangular heads with large compound eyes set on either side and usually three ocelli in between(5); very flexible articulation between the head and prothorax providing great mobility and allowing a mantid to "look over its shoulder"(6); raptorial forelegs used to capture prey.
For non-physical notable features, mantises' eating habits are carnivorous and cannibalistic. They trap and eat live prey. Some females cat males while copulating with them. Young mantises cannibalize siblings. Feast your eyes on a couple of beasty feasty links:
Mantises can be pets or garden pest control. Of interest is the availability of places that sell egg cases (eggs clumped together) that hatch into baby mantises. SSuch sites, besides The Praying Mantis Shop, also offer advice on care and feeding. Some sites as follows (not intended as endorsements) also include at least rudimentary descriptions of mantises.
You can buy egg cases even at Amazon.
Leggy Bugs articles:

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