The praying mantis belongs to the order Mantidea. It is a typical hummingbird killer. Animals of this much size are usually killed by other predators but praying mantis is itself a potential predator. Over the years they have adapted to preying on a range of different insects. The mantis is not as innocent as it may appear; it’s a deadly predator that strikes its prey with lightning speed.
What Do Praying Mantis Eat
The praying mantis mostly preys on live animals with arthropods making up most of its diet. The Chinese mantis eats the larvae of monarch butterfly but it also feeds on small amphibians and hummingbirds.
Praying mantis has neck that rotates 180 degrees. This indeed helps the mantis to look for prey animals without moving its entire body. Yet another mantis’ feature is its camouflaging ability in that it becomes nearly invisible when sits on a green stem or twigs.
See also: Praying Mantis Facts For Kids
Large mantises often take on frogs and lizards and other vertebrates. They move toward its prey without making any sound and the mantis’ ability to remain stationary makes them even more threatening to arthropods. Arthropods notice only when the mantis gets too close to them but by then it’s too late.
Mantises are named after their praying position (not the preying posture). They are thought to use their two front legs to attack its prey. Thanks to the long spines that are attached to these legs with the help of which mantis get hold of its prey quite firmly. The mantids rarely let go its prey once it comes under the feet. They will start eating the animal while holding it with the feet.
Mantises use their sharp spines only for killing prey animals. The praying mantis’ diet also consists of fruit flies, blue bottle flies, aphids, bushbrown butterfly, termites, cockroaches, grasshoppers, crickets, and moths.
While they have an excellent vision mantids also use their sense of smell to search animals. They will consume small birds, mammals, and reptiles. The mantis takes the advantage of a broad daylight to hunt animals. If the food is scarce it may eat its hatchlings.
The cannibalism behavior is often observed in the breeding season in that the female mantis eats her male after mating.
They are quite bold predators and they never scare to strike prey larger than its own size. Praying mantises make very good pets but they must be housed properly in terms of feeding and temperature otherwise they won’t survive.