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Many times we come across certain insects that give us respect and even fear because of their appearance, even though we don't know much about them. This may be the case with the praying mantis. The praying mantis is a hexapod arthropod belonging to the mantid family. Its name "mantis" comes from the Greek and means prophet and religious, it comes from its typical prayer position of its front legs, especially in the European species. Praying mantis (or commonly in English "praying mantis”). It presents cosmopolitan habits and, therefore, it is possible to find it in almost every country in the world. However, it is not easy to detect it in nature, since it has a characteristic that allows it to camouflage itself (mimicry) and be almost imperceptible at some moments, although if we wanted to make an effort and find some, it would be easier to do it in summer, since it is time to its life cycle in which it reaches the adult state. The biomes in which mantises are found are usually wooded areas or grasslands and tend to have a rather sedentary behavior.
There are many singularities that characterize these insects and, as we said before, due to their appearance they generate a feeling of alertness in many people, because seeing their claws and their striking color there are those who wonder: Is the praying mantis poisonous? You may have even heard something about the "poison of the praying mantis", but if you are interested in clarifying this curiosity and discovering many more about these insects, keep reading this Green Ecologist article in which we clarify everything.
Is the praying mantis poisonous or not?
Mantises are arthropods, more specifically insects, and like the vast majority of these animals, they raise many doubts and questions, since they are very different from us and from other animals with which we interact more.
As we indicated before, many people wonder if the praying mantis is poisonous or not, or even wondering if the praying mantis is poisonous to humans. These are doubts that can arise around this fascinating insect because, although they are small, they have an imposing appearance for us. Do you also ask yourself these questions? Take note that, in reality, praying mantises are NOT poisonous.
Other common doubts are whether the praying mantises bite or what the praying mantis bite is like. The truth is that they cannot sting either because they do not have a stinger or anything similar. If they did bite, their jaws are so small that we would hardly know.
We recommend you learn more about what insects are and their characteristics by reading this other post.
Types of praying mantises
Currently, there are a total of 2,500 species of mantis distributed along 24 families and 430 genera. Most frequent the tropics, but there is also a part that is found in temperate zones. Each species has different morphological characteristics in terms of shape and size, as well as behavior, in fact, some become pets! In general, the most studied has been the european praying mantis (Praying mantis), they are green and almost always have a white spot on the inside of the front legs. Here are some of the different species or types of praying mantises that exist today and some of its most significant characteristics.
- Indian flower (Creobroter pictipennis): adult wings are green with an eye-like pattern.
- Dead Leaf (Deroplatys desiccata): as its name suggests, it can be confused with litter.
- Orchid (Hymenopus coronatus): in white and pink colors depending on the environmental conditions.
- Arizona Unicorn (Pseudovates arizonae): brown in color with lighter stripes all over the body and with two small horns in the center of the head, so close together that they look like one, hence its common name.
- African lineola mantis (Sphodromantis lineola): depending on the conditions there are green or brown individuals with purple eyes.
- Gambia flower (Pseudoharpax virescens): they have red rear wings to confuse the predator.
- African mantis (Sphodromantis baccettii): generally green species that inhabits Somalia and Kenya.
- Thorny Flower (Pseudocreobotra wahlbergii): purple-eyed, soft body with green stripes on the legs and the drawing of two eyes on the wings.
- Flower Imp (Blepharopsis mendica): they are white with green stripes and wings with greenish veins.
- Budwing mantis (Parasphendale affinis): light in color with darker spots throughout the body.
- Giant of Asia (Membranacea hierodula): generally green, large in size and little difference between males and females.
- Ghost (Phyllokra paradoxus): it looks like a dry leaf and has an asymmetric cone on the head.
Here below you can see the images of the praying mantises in this list in the same order, starting with the European one.
Other curiosities of the praying mantis
After having clarified that praying mantises are not poisonousTo finish discovering more about these species, here are some more curiosities:
- One curiosity that mantises are quite famous for is their cannibal custom. There are many scientific publications that have studied this practical characteristic, which is that, at the time of reproduction, female mantises may eat their male partner, characterized by its small size compared to that of the female. This habit is more common in mantises that are less well fed than those that have a better diet. In fact, it has been documented that the percentage of species that carry out this practice ranges between 13% and 28%. Generally, it has been accepted that the fact that they feed from their partner is because they have a important supply of amino acids for your eggs and thus, these will be successful in their development.
- Regarding what the praying mantises eat, fundamentally they feed on other insectsBut sometimes, according to some studies, they are able to feed on small birds such as hummingbirds. The hunting strategy is to wait and attack the prey thanks to the fact that they have front legs equipped with spikes, by means of which they ensure a good grip on their prey. In addition, they help to control the proliferation of pests in crops thanks to the fact that they are generalist predators, that is, any insect that can catch it devours it.
- On the other hand, the predators of praying mantises are vertebrates such as frogs, lizards or birds, and invertebrates such as some spiders or ants.
- Does the praying mantis fly? The truth is that another of the characteristics of mantises is that they have wings on the abdomen, however, not all species of mantis can fly. Normally, it is more common for females to have this capacity more limited, due to being larger than males.
- The last peculiarity that is worth mentioning is that the praying mantises have a triangular head that can rotate up to 180º and two compound eyes and three simple which gives them the ability to distinguish brightness and color. Thanks to this and to the fact that both compound eyes are spaced apart on each side of the head, they are able to capture possible prey with great precision, as well as to detect predators with ease.
After learning all these curiosities about praying mantises, we encourage you to watch the video below and learn more about the animals by reading more curiosities about them. Here we tell you how ants communicate and how bees make honey.
If you want to read more articles similar to Is the praying mantis poisonous?, we recommend that you enter our category of Animal Curiosities.
- Battiston, Roberto. (2015). Praying mantis.
- S.E., Lawrence (1992). Sexual cannibalism in the praying mantid. Praying mantis: a field study, Animal Behavior.
- Capinera, John L. (2008). Encyclopedia of Entomology.
- Animal Diversity Web: https://animaldiversity.org
- Online Etymology Dictionary: https://www.etymonline.com/word/mantis
- Encyclopedia Of Life (Mantis): https://eol.org/pages/416/articles#Relationship_with_humans