Named after and known for their unique resting position of their long front limbs, resembling a position of prayer, they may also commonly be known as a symbol of good luck in certain cultures. While its name and appearance may make many assume that it is a docile and tame insect, praying mantises are actually carnivorous in nature and are amazing predators. Famed to possess high precision and super quick reflexes that are sometimes too quick for the human eye. Using primarily their front limbs lined with spikes, praying mantises will snare their prey before eating them.
An Orchid Mantis aka Hymenopus Coronatus resting on a succulent.
A mantis’s diet includes a variety of insects such as crickets, grasshoppers, cockroaches moths etc. but they almost never eat dead prey, choosing only to capture and consume live prey. It is always challenging to hunt down moving targets, however, praying mantises have a few tricks that they employ to increase their chances of a successful catch. Did you know that praying mantises are the only insects capable of turning their heads? This greatly contributes to their stealth and ability to stay very still for long periods of time, allowing prey to get within reach before clamping down on them. Additionally, various species of mantises have evolved to blend into their surroundings, such as the beautiful orchid mantis, which has vibrant colours and an appearance that greatly resembles Orchid flowers, allowing it to blend seamlessly into its surroundings and go unnoticed by prey.
Locally, praying mantises are not widely sold in retail pet shops. They are bred, traded and sold by enthusiasts within the community.
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