The European Mantis (Mantis religiosa) is a large insect in the Mantidae family of mantids, commonly known as the Praying Mantis.
The front pair of legs of the European Mantis has spikes and are bent in a praying position. It is long and green and can be camouflaged in plants. It can also be brown, reddish-brown, or yellow-green. It has a hard shell, called an exo-skeleton. The male and the female have wings, but the wings of the female are too small for flying. It has a triangular head on a thin flexible neck. It has large compound eyes.
Its movement is rhythmic. It sways back and forth or side to side.
It measures up to 8 centimetres (3 inches) in length.
The Mantis is native to southern Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia, and North America. The European Mantis is native to Europe. It prefers scrublands and bushy shrubs.
It is mainly nocturnal, active at night. It is insectivorous, eating other insects, especially hornets.
The female European Mantis sometimes eats her partner after mating. She bites his head off first. This is called cannibalism.
She lays a foam-like egg-casing, called ootheca. After 6-8 weeks, about 100-200 young, called nymphs, hatch from the ootheca.
The lifespan of the European Mantis is, on average, 4-6 months.
[Location of photographs: National Botanical Garden of Georgia, Tbilisi]
Photographer: Martina Nicolls
Martina Nicolls: SIMILAR BUT DIFFERENT IN THE ANIMAL KINGDOM