Why Praying Mantis is Something Special

Why Praying Mantis is Something Special

Nowadays, we may rarely see them in the wild. However, it doesn’t mean that they are extinct, fortunately. They are one of the most sophisticated predators of nature, even though they have the name of the most serene. We call them praying mantis.

Praying mantis is more than just a predator in the wild because it also comes with many other fascinating qualities. One of the features is of course the way they fold their forelegs into like a praying position thus the name.

However, the more we know it, the more we get fascinated with this something special. Here, in this article we are going to talk about why praying mantis is something special, and why it is a fact.

Anatomy of Praying Mantis

praying matis

First thing first, let’s talk about the anatomy of praying mantis. The anatomy of praying mantis is a marvel of evolution. This insect has a long, slender body with three distinct segments: the head, thorax, and abdomen.

The head is large and triangular, with a pair of large compound eyes that provide excellent vision, and three simple eyes that detect light and dark. The mouthparts are specialized for grasping and biting prey, with sharp mandibles that can deliver a powerful bite.

One of the most distinctive features of praying mantis is their forelegs, which are modified for grasping prey. These legs are folded up under the body when not in use, but can be extended rapidly when prey is detected.

The forelegs have spines and sharp edges that can grip prey tightly, and are also used for grooming and manipulating objects. The thorax of a praying mantis is divided into three segments, with each segment bearing a pair of legs.

The front two pairs of legs are modified for grasping prey, while the back pair is used for walking and jumping. The segmentation of their body and specialized legs give them a high degree of mobility and agility, making them formidable hunters in their ecosystem.

Unique Behavior of Praying Mantis

praying mantis

Praying mantis are also well known for their unique behaviors, which have fascinated researchers and amateur observers for centuries. One of the most distinctive behaviors of praying mantis is their hunting technique.

When stalking prey, they will often remain completely still, waiting for their prey to come within reach. Once they detect their prey, they will use their specialized forelegs to grasp onto their victim with lightning-fast speed, immobilizing it and delivering a deadly bite with their mandibles.

Another unique behavior of praying mantis is their method of reproduction. During mating, the female praying mantis will often cannibalize the male, biting off his head and devouring his body. We sure don’t want that to happen to us, right?

However, while this behavior may seem extreme, it is thought to serve a reproductive purpose. By consuming the male, the female is able to gain valuable nutrients that will help her to produce healthier offspring.

Some species of praying mantis are known for their ability to mimic their surroundings. By blending in with their environment, they are able to avoid detection by predators and potential prey. This camouflage is achieved through a combination of coloration and body posture, which allows the mantis to blend seamlessly into its surroundings.

The Visual Predator


In a study conducted by researchers at the University of Zurich, the behavior of praying mantis was studied to determine how they perceive and respond to their environment. The study found that they are capable of using binocular vision to accurately judge the distance to prey and other objects, allowing them to make precise movements when hunting.

The researchers used a combination of behavioral experiments and neurophysiological recordings to determine how the praying mantis visual system works. They found that the insects are able to track moving objects with incredible accuracy, even when the object is moving at high speeds.

Interestingly, the study also found that they are able to use motion parallax to judge the distance to objects in their environment. Motion parallax is a visual cue that allows animals to determine the distance to objects based on the difference in the motion of objects in the foreground and background.

This ability to perceive depth is thought to be particularly important for predators, allowing them to accurately judge the distance to prey and make precise movements. The research also revealed that unlike humans who process visual information in the cortex of the brain, praying mantis process visual information in a specialized area of the brain called the optic ganglia.

This suggests that praying mantis have evolved a unique way of processing visual information that is optimized for their predatory lifestyle. By understanding how these insects perceive their environment, researchers can gain valuable insights into the evolutionary adaptations that have allowed them to become such effective predators.

Why They Are Important

praying mantis

They play an important role in their ecosystem as top predators. As ambush predators, they prey on a wide range of insects, including flies, moths, grasshoppers, and even other praying mantis.

This helps to control the populations of these insects, preventing them from overrunning their habitats. In addition to their role as predators, they also serve as prey for other animals in the food chain. Birds, reptiles, and mammals all feed on praying mantis, and they are an important source of nutrition for these animals.

They also play a role in pollination. While they are primarily predators, they will occasionally feed on nectar and pollen, and in doing so they inadvertently transfer pollen from flower to flower. This makes them important pollinators in their habitats.

Finally, they contribute to nutrient cycling in their ecosystems. When they die, their bodies break down and release nutrients back into the soil, which can be used by other organisms in the ecosystem.

Overall, praying mantis are important components of their ecosystems. Their role as predators helps to maintain the balance of insect populations, while their contribution to pollination and nutrient cycling helps to support the overall health of their habitats.




Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.