Mantis & Myriapods
Information about Mantis:
The order Mantodea contains about 2,200 insects, mostly of the family Mantidae. Many from this family are called ‘praying mantis’ (or sometimes incorrectly preying mantis) due to the prayer-like stance the insects are often seen holding. Mantis have triangular heads and vey large compound eyes. They’ve ferocious and formidable ambush hunters, standing motionless waiting for prey to come into range, and then springing on them in a flash.
They are, of course, infamous for the fact that while mating, the much larger females will sometimes cannibalize the males. Mantis are also noted as being the one of the only insects that can move its head around freely – about 180 degrees. This specialized adaption is especially helpful in an ambush hunter, as it can look around more secretively without giving up it’s position to possible prey. Amazingly, some mantis are so large, powerful and quick they can actually attack and kill small birds, like hummingbirds. Despite their fearsome appearance, hey are not dangerous to humans, and because they often feed on pest insects, they are welcome visitors to any garden.