The Praying Mantis
The praying mantis is among one of the most intelligent creatures on this planet. It’s a bug that, despite its slow-moving nature, is known for its quick movements when it comes to catching prey. You may have noticed most of these beautiful, winged creatures on vegetation, leaves, and plants, and for good reason! They use their brown and green bodies to blend into the nature around them, keeping them out of harm’s way.
A lot of people ask, “Do praying mantises bite?” Only rarely! They are great at identifying which tasty foods to eat and wouldn’t generally mistake a human for another bug. Even if they happened to bite a human, their bite is not at all lethal. Mantids use “their front legs to snare their prey with reflexes so quick that they are difficult to see with the naked eye. Their legs are further equipped with spikes for snaring prey and pinning it in place” (Praying Mantis: National Geographic).
This creature feeds on all different types of insects from crickets to beetles to other praying mantises. They are also known for their peculiar mating behavior. The female is notorious for deciding to feed on her mate after or even during mating.
Though praying mantises are not harmful to us humans, they multiply at a quick rate, making them a tough species to control. The female can actually lay up to 200 eggs in a given time! The way you can tell the difference between a premature and an adult mantis is by the wings. Recently-hatched mantises do not have wings in the beginning. However, they still “closely resemble adults, [and] all emerge at the same time” (Mantid: Encyclopaedia Britannica).
With over 2,400 species of the mantid, the ones most commonly found within Tennessee are the European mantid, Carolina mantid, and the Chinese mantid, especially in east Tennessee. You might find different sizes of mantises as well, and that would help you find out which one you’re seeing.
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- Praying Mantis: National Geographic. 20 May 2020, www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/invertebrates/p/praying-mantis/.
- Mantid. (2020, May 03). Encyclopaedia Britannica. Retrieved November 04, 2020, from https://www.britannica.com/animal/mantid.