The larger group of these insects is more properly called the praying mantids. They are highly predacious and feed on a variety of insects, including moths, crickets, grasshoppers and flies. Praying Mantis are good garden predators but do not discriminate between beneficial and harmful garden insects.
Cannibalism is common among Praying Mantis. After hatching, the young will eat one another if they don't immediately find prey. The adult female may consume her mate, severing the male's head while the pair are in the act of copulation.
Each fall, females deposit eggs in frothy brown cases that they attach to twigs. The cases harden, protecting the eggs from birds and weather. If you find them, you can remove the egg cases and put them into your garden.
- Praying Mantis are the only insects that can turn their head side-to-side 180 degrees.
- These insects get their name because they have very long front legs that they hold in a position that reminds people of praying.
- Their eyes can see movement up to 60 feet away.
- There are over 1,500 species of the praying mantis worldwide.