Sunday, August 5, 2007

Praying Mantids

Praying mantids get their name from the appearance of their front legs, which they hold in a prayerlike manner. Mantid derives from a Greek word meaning prophet or seer.

Praying mantids can be from one to three inches long and a very unusal looking. Most websites say they are either green, brown or tan but nothing about this color, which looks purple to me. They have relatively large heads, eyes and large leg.

Mantids in the East were imported to help control garden pests. In parts of the country there are up to 10 different species. Some have been introduced and some are native. They grab their prey with the strong front legs which quickly shoot out and grasp their prey. Mantids feed upon various types of insects and I have seen a picture of one eating a hummingbird. One thing I can say is I am glad not to be one, since female may grab the male and eat him. The female mantid lay eggs in masses of foam. The egg case can hold up to 300 eggs and the young will hatch the following year.
Mantids have fascinated me since I was a child, I am glad to have them in my garden today. I found my information for this post at

Happy Gardening!!


LostRoses said...

I haven't actually seen one of those in years but I remember what fun it was to find "a walking stick"!

Glad you didn't get a photo of one eating a hummingbird!

MrBrownThumb said...

I also haven't seen one in years. Today I heard the neighbor's kids in my garden yelling about seeing a praying mantis and went out to investigate and it turned out to just be a spider.

Oh well maybe some day I'll order some for the garden.

Bob said...

I love these bugs. As kids my siblings and I would catch these and black widow spiders, put them into a large pickle jar, and watch to see who would win. The mantis always won. The spider would only last maybe 15 seconds. These are amazing preditors and great to have in the garden.
I rarely see them in my area.

KC MO Garden Guy said...

Lostroses and mrbrownthumb you can order the egg sacks online then you would have your own!! Thanks for your comments.

Bob, the things we did as a kids. Now I don't feel so bad about my childhood behavior.