Praying Mantids

Praying Mantids Junior level indicator

Scientific name:
(Order: Mantodea)

Facts: The praying mantids are well known. The name is spelled either “pray” to refer to the position of the front legs or “prey” to refer to feeding on other insects. They have forelegs that are fitted for grasping prey. Praying mantids slowly stalk their prey or sit and wait. Just as they capture their prey they can move extremely fast. The head of the praying mantis can be rotated in nearly a circle as some people believe. Mantids have elongated pronotums and long thin antennae. There are only a few species of mantids found in Texas.

The Carolina mantid, Stagmomantis carolina (Johannson), is a common species that is widely distributed. The female lays a frothy egg case that hardens after it is laid. Egg cases of some mantids are sold for biological control.

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