Bug of Week 13: Praying Mantis

If you find a praying mantis in your garden, consider yourself lucky! These beneficial insects will make a meal of pest insects that threaten your plants. It's also fascinating to watch them explore your yard or garden and use camouflage blend in with their surroundings. Praying mantis can grow 2-5 inches long, and are usually brown or green. They have a triangular head on a long neck, which can turn 180 degrees. Their name comes from their long front legs which are bent at an angle that resembles a praying position.

Please be gentle and respectful to all animals and insects.

Species Mantodea

HABITAT (WHERE THEY LIVE): Praying mantis can be found in all areas of the world with mild winters. They spend most of their time in gardens, woods, or other vegetated areas where they can use camouflage to blend in.

NUTRITION (WHAT THEY EAT): Praying mantis eat moths, crickets, grasshoppers, flies, bees, and other insects. They sometimes even eat other praying mantis!

PREDATORS (WHO EATS THEM): Predators of the praying mantis include frogs, bats, monkeys, birds, spiders, and snakes.

LIFE CYCLE: Females lay hundreds of eggs in a small brown case, and nymphs hatch looking much like an adult praying mantis except tiny.


National Geographic