ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

The Mantis - A Very Special Insect

Updated on January 12, 2017
Photo by Danny Stoecker
Photo by Danny Stoecker

If ever you should find a praying mantis in your garden, stop and have a good look at it, because it's one of the most entertaining insects in the world.

We found one in our orange-tree the other day, and it was rather a wonder that we did find it, because it was exactly the same color as the leaves, and standing perfectly still, and if you looked away for a minute it was difficult to find again. Then, as we watched, it did all kinds of funny things. First, it changed leaves, swaying and balancing on its four back legs while stretching forward and "pawing" at the air with its two front ones, very prettily, like a dog begging. Then it drew one of its back legs forward and ran its tiny mouth up and down, cleaning it. Next, it rubbed one of its front legs over its face and right round the back of its head, just like a cat washing its face.

When this was over, suddenly it swiveled its head around and stared at us.

Tess said, "Oh, look, Mommy, what a darling!"

Chris said, "That's funny! I don't remember any other insect doing that."

And he was right. That's one of the queerest things about the whole family of mantids. They can twist their heads around the way we do- and no other insect can.

Tess was also right, about its looking a darling, with its funny little head shaped like a triangle, and its big bulging eyes, and endless antics. But if she had been a fly, she wouldn't have been so pleased, because the mantis would probably have eaten her. You see those fierce-looking front legs with all their spines?

Those are to catch flies and other small insects with, and to hold them tightly while the mantis eats them. But lady mantids don't stop at other kinds of insects. They quite often eat their own husbands, as well.

The one on our orange-tree was rather small-about two inches long-but there are other kinds much bigger, and sometimes they are brown instead of green.

You'll be delighted if you ever find one of the little cases in which mother mantis lays her eggs. It's very delicate-looking brown or pale green-and so pretty. But even prettier are the baby mantids themselves when they are first "born".

Each of them has to struggle out of a tight skin sheath before it can take its first look at the world-and then, you can't help loving this tiny creature which looks and behaves so exactly the same as the big grown-ups.

Do you know why it is called a praying mantis? Just watch it and see how often it folds its front legs up against itself in an attitude of prayer! Of course, considering the way it hunts and eats insects, it should be called preying mantis, shouldn't it? But we shouldn't think of it too unkindly for this, since it relieves us of so many flies and other insect pests. Actually, a praying mantis is as useful to us as it is entertaining.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Rachel Richmond profile image

      Rachel Richmond 

      6 years ago from California

      Before leaving Virginia in the fall - my husband and I kept seeing the praying mantis all around the place. They are beautiful and darling. Thanks for sharing.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)