University of Florida

Praying Mantid

Mantids get their common name from the manner in which they hold their large front legs while waiting to attack—as if folded in prayer. People usually call all of these insects "mantis," but mantises are a smaller group within the mantids. While they are excellent hunters, mantids are not picky eaters, meaning they'll eat both "bad" insects and other beneficials, including other mantids.

The praying mantid has a long body and a tiny triangular head with large eyes on either side. Many are tan- or light green-colored, but some resemble flowers or leaves in shape and color.

Mantids are often seen in late September or early October, either resting on a plant or fluttering through the air. They can get quite large, up to five inches long. Although somewhat intimidating, praying mantids neither bite nor sting humans.

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