Other names: European Mantis
Latin name: Mantis religiosa
size: 7,5cm (females), 5,5cm (males)
mass: about 8g
Older: 7 - 12 months
Sexual dimorphism: Yes
Nutrition type: Insectivore (insectivore)
food: Bees, flies, grasshoppers, spiders, wasps
distribution: Europe, Asia, Africa, North America
original origin: Africa
Sleep-wake rhythm: diurnal
habitat: Forest, meadow
natural enemies: Ants, wasps, birds
sexual maturity: ?
mating season: July September
oviposition: 50 - 70 eggs
social behavior: Loners
Threatened with extinction: Yes
Further profiles of animals can be found in the Encyclopaedia.
Interesting facts about the praying mantis
- The praying mantis belongs to the family Mantodea or Mantises and is the only native of Europe genus of this genus. There are about 2150 species of mantises worldwide.
- The mantis is native to Africa and is now native to the Mediterranean, dry and warm areas throughout Europe, Asia, the United States and Canada. It prefers sunny regions with high or semi-high vegetation such as vineyards or dry meadows.
- As it is extremely rare, it is under strict environmental protection in many Central European countries and must not be caught.
- The mantis owes its name to the attitude of its front tentacles, reminiscent of the prayer position of human hands. Due to this conspicuousness, the mantis has been accorded a special symbolic role by the Mediterranean peoples since ancient times. Her scientific name Mantis religiosa, meaning "religious seer", also indicates the strong symbolic power of this insect.
- On her elongated upper body sits a freely movable and rotatable, triangular head with lateral compound eyes. The strong tentacles are covered with thorns and usually folded when they are at rest.
- The praying mantis has several wing pairs of different sizes. The females, which are significantly larger than the males with an average body length of eight centimeters, are unable to fly due to their weight and usually move deep in the grass.
- As a predator, the praying mantis feeds on other insects such as flies, bees, wasps or grasshoppers, but also spiders or conspecifics. Larger, in warmer climates native types of Fang frighten even small birds, lizards or mice.
- Due to their green, yellowish or gray-brown coloring, praying mantises are perfectly camouflaged and go unnoticed for prey. They sit with their heads down and with their thighs laid close to their bodies for days on a blade of grass and wait inconspicuously for their victims. If a prey animal is within reach or even walking over it, the moored tentacles of the praying mantis jerk fast forward and seize it.
- The mating takes place in the summer and early fall and lasts about two hours. Most females then eat their male partners.
- The eggs are placed in a container known as the Ootheum, which it sticks to a leaf or blade of grass. In the Oothek, the eggs are well protected against frost and dehydration in winter, before the larvae hatch in spring.
- These soon go to prey and after about six molts have become fully mature mantises, the so-called imagines. They die after just one season next fall, when temperatures start to fall again.