Mantids (Mantodea)

Greek "mantis" (their name for this insect)
Mantids are the only insect that can turn their heads from side to side. They are predators that feed on insects, so being able to turn their heads without moving their bodies allows them to sneak up on prey. Their elongated fore legs are adapted for catching and holding their prey. They are usually colored to blend in with their surroundings. Mantids are most common in the tropics - only a handful of species are found in the United States. Mantids have a triangular shaped head with well-developed compound eyes. They have two pairs of wings, and the fore wings are thick and more narrow than the hind wings.


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Robert Potts © 2002 California Academy of Sciences
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© 2004 Joyce Gross
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Dr. Lloyd Glenn Ingles © 2001 California Academy of Sciences

Quick ID

  • Elongated folded fore legs, as if "praying"
  • Triangular shaped head
  • Can turn head side to side

More information about Mantids

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Last updated: Jan 2, 2017