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.
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.