Here are some facts that you prob­a­bly did not know about our prayer­ful in­sect friends.

What's not to love about pray­ing man­tises? They're silent in­sect as­sas­sins that look great, and look like they're at peace with the world.

Animal Scene - - SPOTLIGHT -

THEY CAN SEE VERY WELL Man­tises can ac­tu­ally see in 3-D, mean­ing they have stereo vi­sion. They even have a sec­tion of their eyes that al­lows them to track and fo­cus very well. It’s called the fovea. And if you’ve seen their heads up close, they also have three sim­ple eyes in be­tween the two big “hunt­ing” eyes. Con­sid­er­ing how they catch their prey, they re­ally do need an ex­cel­lent idea of their sur­round­ings.

2 THEY ARE VERY FLEXIBLE AND AWARE OF THEIR BOD­IES

Man­tises have been ob­served to be able to jump with ex­treme pre­ci­sion. They can do this by flexing and twist­ing their bod­ies in mid-air so they can land on a spe­cific spot. It's sim­i­lar to how cats do it.

3 THEY LIKE EAT­ING OTH­ERS ALIVE

It may sound icky, but man­tises have a big love for eat­ing its prey alive. It doesn’t go for al­ready-dead prey.

4 SOME OF THEM LIKE BRAINS

Since man­tises dis­able their prey by biting the neck, it’s no sur­prise that they have a thing for brains as well - it’s the near­est most nu­tri­tious part of the body from # %

5 THEY HAVE EN­E­MIES, TOO

Just be­cause they are apex in­sect preda­tors, it doesn’t mean that they aren’t food for some­one else. Frogs, lizards, birds, and spi­ders are all nat­u­ral en­e­mies. Of course, it’s im­por­tant to take into ac­count the size of the man­tis.

6 THEY HAVE BIG IS­SUES WITH BATS.

Man­tises have de­vel­oped hear­ing abil­i­ties that al­low them to hear bat echolo­ca­tion. They even go into # hom­ing in on them.

7 THEY’RE TROP­I­CAL IN­SECTS

Ex­cept for some species which prob­a­bly stowed away to Europe and the Amer­i­cas, most pray­ing man­tises keep to the trop­i­cal re­gions of the world.

8 THEY HAVE NASTY REL­A­TIVES

Un­be­liev­ably, Man­tises are prob­a­bly re­lated to cock­roaches and ter­mites. Even though they don’t look any­thing alike, their evo­lu­tion­ary de­vel­op­ments make them sim­i­lar enough that some en­to­mol­o­gists give them a su­per­order group­ing, Dic­ty­optera.

9 THEY'RE NEW­COM­ERS TO THE IN­SECT WORLD

The ear­li­est fos­sils for man­tises are about 146 to 166 mil­lion years old. That may sound like a long time, but many in­sects al­ready had their es­tab­lished species way, way be­fore that. The early man­tises didn’t have the ex­tended neck and spines in the forelegs that are present in all man­tises to­day.

10 THEY HAVE AN EAR IN THEIR CHEST

While man­tises tend to be very good hun­ters due to their ex­cel­lent eye­sight, it turns out they have only one ear, and it’s lo­cated in their chests. The bad side of this is that since they do not have stereo hear­ing, & % # only that it’s near or far. The good side of this is that ap­par­ently, this sin­gle ear can hear ul­tra­sonic ' # #

11 THEY DO MAKE GREAT PETS

An­i­mated movies about kung-fu an­i­mals and in­sects aside, pray­ing man­tises are kept as pets in some ar­eas of the world. Some peo­ple claim they can be tamed, and even taught tricks. In some places, they are the most com­monly kept pets in the neigh­bor­hood.

12 IN EUROPE, THEY WERE THOUGHT TO SAVE CHIL­DREN

Pray­ing man­tises were once thought to be sav­iors of chil­dren in France. If a child was lost and could not % # #

13 THEY CAN BE SIGNS OF GOOD FOR­TUNE

In some ar­eas of Africa, peo­ple be­lieved that a per­son would have good luck if a pray­ing man­tis lands on them.

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