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Praying Mantises

Praying Mantis have very sensitive eyes that move in an 1800 angle and they can see predators at a distance of 60 feet. The Praying Mantis is a large common mantis originating from China but lives in the USA.

Praying Mantises

Praying Mantis

Praying Mantis: The abdomen of the praying mantis is elongated and in adults, it is covered with the wings. The head is triangular with mounted compound eyes. The sizes and the colors of the praying mantis vary according to their species. The colors range from faint green to faint pink, but most commonly, they are pea green or brown in color. Some praying mantis are pink in color, especially the species found on the pink colored flowers of tropical regions.

This species inhabits grasslands in moderate climates. The environment temperatures should be inbetween 20 – 26C (68 – 78.8F), and the humidity in the region of 60 – 65%.

A long and thin praying mantis with the colours ranging in different shades of browns. When adult, they have a green lateral stripe down the side of the wing case. They also have a small spike on the four walking legs. Being quite a large Mantis, the adult size varies from 85 – 100mm in length (Dependent on the sex).

Praying Mantis

Praying Mantis

Life Cycle:praying mantis starts with an unique, infamous and interesting method that is known as, ‘sexual cannibalism’. In this method, the female kills or feeds herself on the male after mating. In some species of praying mantis, females eat the head of their mate after the process of fertilization. This is actually a topic of debate though many researchers deny the hypothesis.

It is said that only 15% of the praying mantis female eats the male mantis after mating. Praying mantis lifespan varies with respect to the species, but the average lifespan of a praying mantis is almost one year. And in most of the species of praying mantis, they live only 6 months as an adult. Summer season is the breeding season of the praying mantis.

The praying mantis goes through three stages of metamorphosis: egg, nymph, and adult. After fertilization, the female praying mantis lays 10 to 400 eggs in the autumn season. These eggs are secured on leaves, stems or any other safe surface. The egg houses are interesting frothy liquid like structures present in their abdomen, called as ootheca. It has a compartment-like special formation for every single egg.

Praying Mantises

Praying Mantises with Eggs

These compartments have a small one way valve like structures that helps the insects to get hatched with minimum efforts. These ‘oothecas’ are meant to protect the baby praying mantis during the cold winter time. The developed small sized mantis come out of the oothecas in the spring season. The first meal of these small praying mantis is surprisingly, their siblings.

These nymphs also eat flies, aphids and small grasshoppers. These nymphs take the whole summer season to grow up to adulthood. On reaching adulthood, the small praying mantis shed many layers of their exoskeleton, which is called as molting. Below their exoskeleton are their growing wings. Small praying mantis of most of the species actually look like small ants but with the series of molts, they eventually start to look like their parents.

controls:Often when home gardeners think of natural pest control, mantids come to mind. They are common in Kentucky and each mantid can consume many insects. Mantids are available commercially and egg cases can be purchased during the winter months. The egg cases are placed in the garden and the nymphs hatch in the spring when insect prey is available.

While mantids are clearly beneficial, their overall value is relatively small compared with lady beetles and green lacewings. This is due to their cannibalistic nature which limits the number of mantids in an area. Placing large numbers of egg cases may not increase the population due to the fact that mantids tend to move away to find suitable coverage and food sources.

Praying Mantises

Praying Mantis

Some insecticides can drastically reduce the numbers of mantids in the garden. Selective insecticides, such as those containing Bacillus thuringiensis (for caterpillar control) and insecticidal soap (to control soft-bodied insect pests) have little impact on mantids as compared to broad-spectrum insecticides. If you want to encourage mantids, you should limit pesticide use and allow some vegetation to grow to provide cover for the mantids..

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