Praying Mantis

Yesterday I watered one of the flower beds after the sun had gone down because that’s the only time of day I can do gardenwork in this heatwave without melting into a blob like a crayon on a sidewalk. After I was done watering, I noticed I had disturbed an enormous praying mantis about 3 inches long. Been seeing a lot of them lately. They must thrive on this heat. Did you know that they are referred to as “praying” because of their prayerful stance?

They can turn their head 300 degrees, and along with their compound eyes, this gives them a wide field of vision.  They eat mostly insects, but larger species of mantis will eat lizards, frogs, birds, snakes, fish, and even rodents. They also engage in cannibalism. Victims are caught and held with spiked forelegs, and then devoured.

When threatened, they may stand on their hind legs with their forelegs outstretched and wings extended to give an appearance of looking larger than they are. Most mantises are camouflaged with shades of  brown or green, but some have an appearance of sticks, leaves, tree bark, flowers, or even stones. 

During mating, the female may cannibalize the male.  The female will then, depending on the species, lay between 10 and 400 eggs. When the eggs hatch, the young may cannibalize each other if not enough food is available.  The lifespan is only 10 – 12 months.

When I was a kid, I was very scared of them. But now that I know they are doing good work in garden helping control the insects, I kinda like them.


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Cattle, corn, wheat, beans, mud, snow, ice, and drought. Plenty of fresh air and quiet. Our life is sometimes heartbreaking, sometimes joyous, but never boring.

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20 Responses

  1. Lee Ann L. says:

    I’ve always liked Praying Mantis. These are awesome pictures!

  2. Great photos!
    Praying Mantis are awesome to have in a garden. I find the egg cases in our garden a lot. I like finding the little baby ones that can fit on my thumbnail. They are soooo cute.

  3. You rock,love these bugs! Praying Mantis are so comical!

    Stop by the site today new poem!

    as always, love your posts,


  4. Holy cannibalism! Geez! They are really interesting little creatures! You got some really great shots!

  5. Stephanie says:

    I wish to see one in my garden someday ;-D All I have is those big not so pleasing grasshopppers…errr….

    Glad to know that you have the same glox as mine. I am sure your flowers looked really good 😉

  6. Maegan says:

    I especially love the babies. Gregarious little guys. No bigger than a dandelion puff and ready to take on the world. I found they were the most ready to fight me. The big ones just wanted me to go away and stop scaring all the grasshoppers.

  7. Christina says:

    Love learning about the praying mantis. The cannibalism is a little freaky, but that’s their world. Your photos are incredible! Love his “expression” and the praying stance!

  8. Love his face. We do share our world with some amazing creatures … thanks for making us stop and look!

  9. Julie says:

    Wow these are really cool pix of your praying mantis….and educational too!;) thanks

  10. Benjamin says:

    Last year I saw a mantis with a moving, live bumblebee head in one arms, while muching on the rest of the bee’s body in its other arm. I was amzed the bee was still alive!

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