The common praying mantis is an insect belonging to the family of real praying mantis. This is the most common representative of the species in Europe.
This is a rather large insect. The common praying mantis, whose dimensions range from 42 to 52 mm (males) and from 48 to 75 mm (females), is a predator. It has adapted forelimbs for food. The praying mantis is part of the cockroach-like squad, forming a numerous species consisting of three thousand subspecies.
His name was given to Carl Linnaeus, a great systematist who noticed that the posture of the praying mantis, when he was sitting in ambush, very much resembles a man who folded his hand in prayer. Therefore, the scientist called him Mantis religiosa, which translates as "religious priest."
Probably, you are familiar with an ordinary mantis in school biology textbooks. The type of its color is very changeable, ranging from yellow or green to dark brown or brown-gray. It usually corresponds to the habitat, coincides with the color of grass, stones and leaves.
The most common green or white and yellow color. Older individuals have a paler outfit. Dark brown spots appear on the body with age. This is explained by the fact that the production of amino acids important for life stops in the body: methionine, leucine, tryptophan, etc. In laboratory conditions, when these substances are added to food, the life of an insect almost doubles - up to four months. This is the maximum period that an ordinary praying mantis can live.
These insects have well developed wings, they fly well, but the males move in this way, and only at night, and in the daytime they allow themselves to flit from branch to branch from time to time. The mantis has four wings. Two of them are dense and narrow, and the other two are thin and wide. They are able to unfold, like a fan.
The head is a triangular-shaped praying mantis, very mobile, connected to the breast. It can rotate 180 degrees. This insect has well developed forepaws, which have powerful and sharp spikes. With their help, it grabs its victim, and then eats it.
The photo of the common mantis, which you can see below, clearly demonstrates that this insect has well-developed eyes. It is distinguished by excellent vision. The predator, while in ambush, monitors the environment and instantly reacts to moving objects. He approaches the prey and grabs it with strong paws. After that, the victim has no chance to survive.
In contrast to males that feed on rather small insects, heavy large females prefer their fellows of the same and sometimes larger size than they do. An interesting story related to the female mantis, told E. Teale. He observed a funny situation on the street of one of the cities of America. Car traffic was stopped. Drivers watched with interest the duel between the sparrow and the praying mantis. Surprisingly, the insect won the battle, and the sparrow had to retreat in disgrace from the battlefield.
Praying Mantis Photo, Habitat
The mantis is spread quite widely in the south of Europe - from Portugal to Ukraine and Turkey. He did not bypass the islands of the Mediterranean Sea (Corsica, Balearic, Sicily, Sardinia, the Aegean Islands, Malta, Cyprus). Often found in Sudan and Egypt, in the Middle East from Iran to Israel, on the Arabian Peninsula.
The habitat of the common praying mantis also covers the southern regions of our country. Supposedly introduced to the east of the United States, in New Guinea, in 1890. From these territories, he settled almost all of America and southern Canada. At the very beginning of this century, the mantis was discovered in Costa Rica. There is no officially confirmed evidence that the common praying mantis was found in Jamaica, in Australia and Bolivia.
In Europe, the northern border of the range passes through such countries and regions as Belgium and France, Tyrol and southern Germany, the Czech Republic and Austria, southern Poland and Slovakia, the forest-steppe regions of Ukraine and southern Russia.
Scientists note that at the end of the 20th century, the range began to expand to the north. The number of these insects increased significantly in the north of Germany, and the common praying mantis appeared in Latvia and Belarus.
Noticing the beautiful half, the male begins to sneak up to her much more carefully than to the most dangerous and sensitive prey. His movement does not catch the human eye. It seems that the insect does not move at all, but gradually it approaches the female, while trying to go back. If the female at this moment turns in his direction, the male freezes in place for a long time, while swaying slightly. Biologists believe that these movements are a signal that switches the behavior of the female from hunting to love.
This rather peculiar courtship can last up to six hours. On this date, a gentleman is better to be a little late than to hurry for a minute. The praying mantis breeds at the very end of summer. On the territory of Russia, they mate from mid-August to early September. The influence of sex hormones provokes an increase in aggressiveness in the behavior of the insect. At this time, there are cases of cannibalism. The main feature of an ordinary praying mantis is that the female eats a male after, and sometimes during mating.
There is a version that a male mantis cannot copulate if its head is present, therefore sexual intercourse in insects begins with an unpleasant procedure for the male - the female tears off his head. However, more often mating occurs without sacrifice, but after its completion the female eats the male, and even then only in half of the cases.
As it turned out, she eats her partner not because of her special bloodthirstiness or harmfulness, but because of the great need for protein in the first stage of egg development.
An ordinary praying mantis, the photo of which you can see in this article, lays eggs in ootechs. This is a special form of laying, characteristic of mollusks and cockroach-like. It is a horizontal rows of eggs, which may be two or more.
The female fills them with a foamy protein substance, which forms a capsule when frozen. As a rule, up to 300 eggs are laid. The capsule has a rather solid structure that easily sticks to plants or stones, protecting the egg from external influences.
Inside the capsule, optimum humidity and temperature are maintained. Even in temperatures up to -18 ° C, eggs cannot die in the library. In temperate latitudes, eggs hibernate, and in the southern regions the incubation period is one month.
Thirty days later the larvae appear from the eggs. On their surface are small spikes that help them get out of the capsule. After that, the larvae molt. Later, they shed their skins and look like adults, but without wings. The larva of the common mantis is very mobile, it has a protective coloring.
In most areas of these insects, the larvae hatch in late April - early May. For two and a half months, they molt five times. Only after that they become adult insects. The process of puberty is two weeks, then the males begin to look for their other half for mating. Mantis live in natural conditions - two months. At first males die. After mating, they no longer look for prey, become very sluggish and quickly die. Live only until September, and females survive them for a month. Their century ends in October.
Lifestyle and diet
The basis of the mantis diet is insects. The largest individuals (mostly females) often attack lizards, frogs and even birds. The common mantis eats the sacrifice slowly. This process can last about three hours, and during the week food is digested.
Mantis can hardly be called a lover of hiking. Only by the end of the summer males radically change their lifestyle: they begin to wander around. Faced with his brother, the insect enters into a fight, and the loser has a chance not only to die, but also to become an evening meal for the victorious opponent. Of course, on these journeys, praying males are looking for a completely non-tournament glory, they need the love of a beautiful female.
The habitat of the common praying mantis is a tree or shrub, but sometimes they can stop on the grass or on the ground. Insects move from tier to tier, so they can be found both at the top of the crown and at the foot of a tall tree. And one more interesting feature: the mantis responds exclusively to moving targets. Objects fixed to him are not interested.
This predator is very voracious. An adult insect eats at one time up to seven centimeters of cockroaches. Eating the victim takes about thirty minutes. At first he eats soft tissue, and only after that he starts hard. The mantis leaves limbs and wings from a cockroach. Softer insects are eaten whole. The mantis usually prefers a sedentary lifestyle. When he has enough food, he lives on a single tree throughout his life.
Description of the species
The mantis ordinary (Mantisreligiosa) belongs to the order of the mantis, comprising 2800 species. The body of the insect is narrow and elongated. Males grow to 43-52 mm, females significantly larger - 50-75 mm. Anatomical feature of mantis is the structure of the forelimbs. Grasping legs with spiky elongated thighs and legs are designed to hold prey. The hip and shin in a bundle function on the principle of scissors. On the inside of the front limbs coxae there is a dark spot with a white mark in the middle.
Interesting fact. Despite the fact that females are larger than males in males, they have longer antennae and large eyes.
The head is triangular, mobile, the insect is able to look back. On the sides are large, protruding faceted eyes. In European praying mantis, they have a black pupil. On the forehead there are long filiform antennae and three simple ocelli. The mouthparts of the gnawing type are directed downwards. An ordinary mantis has two pairs of well-developed wings. Light males and young females are able to fly a considerable distance.
The front wings are narrow and leathery, they replace the elytra. Hind wings are wide, in a calm state, they are folded on the back in the type of fan. The pronotum expands in the upper part, but never covers the head. The abdomen is elongated, soft, consists of 10 segments. On the last segment are appendages - cerci. On the sides of the body are 10 pairs of spiracles.
The color of the insect varies from green to brown
The color of the common praying mantis is patronizing. Body color is green (in 80% of cases), yellow, light or dark brown. Camouflage color allows you to merge with the environment. When the insect is motionless, it completely mimics the foliage or twig. Camouflage performs two functions: it allows you to hunt from ambush and hide from enemies.
Information. When attacking an enemy, the mantis opens its wings to increase in size. It swings from side to side and raises the front legs and the edge of the abdomen threateningly. All actions are aimed at deterring the aggressor. If the enemy is too large, the mantis flies away.
The scientific name of the species in Latin is Mantisreligiosa. The word mantis means “priest”, “prophet”, religiosa - “religious”. Karl Linney chose the name not by chance, expecting prey, the common mantis or the religious mantis puts their shins in the groove of their thighs. His posture is reminiscent of a man frozen in prayer.
Folded limbs resemble religious gesture
The mantis lives and hunts like a typical ambush. The predator freezes until the victim is within reach. He grabs prey with his front legs and begins to eat from his head. The males are careful in choosing the objects of hunting, they attack flies, locusts and other small insects. Large females often attack prey that are almost equal in size. Aggressive individuals attack lizards, birds, frogs. They jump onto the back of a reptile and bite behind the head. The fight lasts a few minutes, in the process the hunter may become a victim. With a successful outcome, prey is eaten for 2-3 hours. The female remains fed up to 4-5 days.
Before the enemy, the mantis takes a threatening pose
You can meet Mantisreligiosa in the forest, steppe raznotravie, in the meadow. Insects do not avoid even large cities, where they adapted to live in the grass, parks and gardens. The favorite habitats of the praying mantis are tall trees and shrubs. Insects prefer sedentary lifestyle. They do not leave the usual territory, move between tiers. Four limbs are used for movement, less often wings.
Predator eats grasshopper
With enough food, they spend their whole lives on one plant. Insects have excellent vision, they catch the slightest movement in the environment. Camouflage coloring allows you to get close to the prey. Hunting occurs in the daytime. The prey eats all the soft tissues, chitinous legs and wings remain. How much an ordinary mantis lives depends on the amount of food and sex. The age of females is longer, on average, representatives of the species live under natural conditions for 2-3 months. In captivity, the life expectancy of insects is increased several times and is 12-13 months.
Like any insect, a praying mantis has many natural enemies. Birds, snakes, small mammals, bats hunt him. Arthropod runs slowly, takes off hard. His awesome dance with fan-spread wings scares only inexperienced young birds. For the rest of the major hunters mantis easy prey.
Females hunt reptiles
Value in nature
The biological significance of the common praying mantis is related to its way of life. He is a predator exterminating harmful insects. Adults and larvae eat phytophages in trees and shrubs. Attempts to organize the protection of agricultural lands with the help of praying mantis were not once made. Large-scale plans for the use of predators in the role of biological weapons against pests were not crowned with success, but many farmers buy Motisreligiosa. They are placed in gardens for the safe destruction of aphids and thrips.
Predatory behavior of praying mantis has its disadvantages. They make the distinction between beneficial and harmful insects to humans. Mantis catch and eat honey bees, so the appearance of the species around the apiary creates problems. In most cases, humans are obliged to the predator to contain the number of pests and parasites, therefore, as a thanks, it is worth saving the habitat and the insects themselves.
Sexual dimorphism of insects is pronounced in the size of males and females. The photo shows how much the female of the praying mantis is larger than the male.
The sexual behavior of insects is closely studied by scientists. Relations between partners are divided into two stages:
- pre courtship
In temperate climates, the breeding season occurs in August — September. At the end of the abdomen of the males are sensitive organs of smell, cerci. With their help insects catch pheromones of females. The process of courtship is a careful approach to the object of passion. The male slowly and carefully moves to the female, trying to bypass her from behind. When she turns her head, she freezes in place, taking advantage of the fact that the praying mantises do not react to fixed figures. Courting takes several hours, but allows you to stay alive before mating.
Having reached the potential partner, the male jumps on her back. He holds his feet, placing them in special grooves on the sides of the mid-chest of the female. In such a safe position, he begins copulation. The process can last 4-5 hours. In 50% of cases, the male manages to escape. Having run away from her partner at a safe distance, he freezes for a few minutes. It is necessary for rest.
Praying mantises are insects with incomplete transformation. The development of the individual occurs in 3 stages: egg, larva, imago. 10-11 days after fertilization, the female of the common praying mantis lays its eggs. Masonry is 100-300 pieces. Together with the eggs produced a sticky secret. After solidification of the fluid, an ootec is formed - a protective capsule in which the clutch is not exposed to external influence. Ooteka yellow or brown, it is attached to branches or stones. Eggs remain to winter.
The posterity of mantises appears in the spring. Larvae are born with many spines on the body and two threads on the abdomen. Spikes help youngsters get out of the capsule. The larvae hang on the tail filaments, so the first molt occurs. Before growing up, they will have to go through another 4 molts. Wingless larvae look like imagoes. They eat flies with fruit flies, aphids, thrips.
Praying mantis larvae
Cannibalism in the process of mating
During the breeding season, the aggressiveness of the females increases under the action of the sex hormones. The partner is in danger if the female has been starving for 2-3 days. She can attack the male before mating. Это даст необходимые питательные вещества, к тому же размер добычи крупнее, чем обычные насекомые. Партнер рискует погибнуть во время спаривания, потеря головы не сказывается на совокуплении. Поедание самца после принятия сперматофора имеет те же причины. Самка богомола обеспечивает питанием будущее потомство, повышая шансы на производство большого количества яиц.
Самка съедает голову партнера после спаривания
Interesting fact. Самцы выбирают для спаривания крупных упитанных самок, это снижает риск быть съеденным во время оплодотворения.
Советы по содержанию и питанию
Домашний богомол – экзотический питомец, который может прожить в домашних условиях около года. Насекомые сообразительные, контактные, довольно крупных размеров. To place a pet will require a terrarium. They are of two types: plastic and glass. The second option is preferable. Air access is provided by a mesh cover. The length of the dwelling should be 3 times the size of the body of the praying mantis.
A heat-loving insect requires a temperature of 22-26 ° C. You can maintain it with a special heater or a lamp installed near the tank. Recommended humidity is 40-60%. Supported by daily spraying of the substrate. It is not necessary to put a drinker, enough moisture on the walls of the terrarium. A pet without fear is taken in hand, the more often the contact occurs, the sooner it becomes accustomed to the person.
Sand or coconut sawdust is poured on the bottom as a substrate. Inside are placed twigs and snags, which will be crawling insect. An important nuance when keeping several praying mantis is placing them in different containers. This will prevent cannibalism characteristic of the species. Grasshoppers, flies, locusts, crickets, and cockroaches serve as food for the predator. Feed pets every 2-3 days. Depending on the size, 1-3 feeding insects are given at a time. Running the prey inside the container, you can watch the hunt.
Mantis are safe for humans
Despite the wide distribution of insects in some regions of Russia, the common praying mantis is listed in the Red Book. It is included in the category of rare species in the Chelyabinsk, Voronezh, Kurgan, Belgorod and Lipetsk regions. The number of insects has decreased as a result of plowing up lands, grass has fallen, solid hayfields, and the use of toxic chemicals in the processing of fields. In the habitats of praying mantis is limited to economic activity. Plowing up plots, grazing, using pesticides, killing or catching insects is prohibited to protect the species. In Germany, the common mantis is inscribed on the Red Leaf as a cutting species. It can not be caught in nature and kept at home as a pet.
Mantis is a typical predator
The mantis is a typical example of trapping predators, or, in other words, an ambush. For hours he can sit quietly in a secluded place, waiting for prey. Camouflage color allows the mantis to merge with vegetation, and even the shape of the body resembles a part of a plant. Although it lives among the abundance of greenery, plant food does not accept. Moreover, the carnivorous insect eats its prey exclusively alive.
Mantis are merciless not only to other insects smaller than them in size, which for them is nothing but a delicious dinner, but also to their relatives. It is necessary to know the one who keeps this aggressive creation as a pet. Two or more praying mantis are unlikely to get along together, especially if one is larger than the other.
In the Middle Ages in Japan, the praying mantis was considered a symbol of courage and cruelty, and even inflicted an image of an insect on the arms of samurai swords. And one of the positions in Kung Fu repeats the pose of a praying mantis, ready for battle. In addition, in China they believed that a mantis has healing power and can cure some diseases. The ancient Greeks considered the praying mantis to be the herald of spring and the forecaster of the weather, they called him "the prophet" and "the soothsayer." And in some European countries, even today, a certain magical power is attributed to the praying mantis. Perhaps this creature, which is the object of superstition, will cause you interest and you will want to keep it as a pet?
Mantis: the appearance and features of the structure
Praying mantises are large insects, with females much larger than males. In the world there are about two thousand species of praying mantis. The common praying mantis (Latin Mantis religiosa) is about 6 cm long. The largest of the praying mantis - the Chinese praying mantis - reaches a length of 15 cm.
The body of the praying mantis is elongated, the head is almost triangular, mobile. Large round bulging eyes that are directed slightly forward and downward provide him with a much wider view than that of a person. And thanks to the extremely flexible neck, the mantis can turn its head so that it will notice any creature approaching it from behind. The mouth is well developed and equipped with biting jaws or sucking proboscis.
Among the praying mantis are found both winged and wingless. In insects with wings, both pairs of wings are well developed. The front wings are narrower than the rear and more dense. Wide webbed rear wings in a calm state are folded like a fan and covered with elytra. I must say that the wings for their intended purpose, i.e. for flight, the mantis uses rarely. Rather, they need them to intimidate prey, as well as enemies.
The structure of the praying mantis body indicates that the insect is well adapted to the predatory way of life. The abdomen is ten-segmented, soft and flattened, with numerous long processes - cerci (serve as organs of smell). The long thigh is seated on the bottom edge with three rows of strong spines. The lower leg also has 3 rows of pronounced spines. The thigh and shin that are folded together form a powerful grasping device that acts like a scissors.
Mantis - master camouflage
Some species of mantis have a green color, so they are difficult to see among the grass and foliage, others can cast a pinkish, as a result of merging with flower petals. And, for example, the Indian praying mantis has a brown tint and looks like a fallen leaf on the ground.
The mantis body shape and various camouflage colors allow the insect to merge with the plants, which makes it almost imperceptible for both potential victims and enemies. The mantis itself can also become a victim of larger predators (birds, lizards). To protect against enemies, the praying mantis has a number of defenses.
So, camouflage color makes the praying mantis hidden in the grass almost imperceptible. Produces insect movement. Under normal circumstances, the praying mantis moves very slowly, but in danger it can crawl quickly to cover. With a clear threat, the insect visually expands the areas of its body, revealing its wings, and begins to sway from side to side, trying with all its might to scare off the enemy. The front legs with sharp spikes insect trying to hit the enemy.
When the praying mantis has to defend itself, it spreads both pairs of wings to the sides and spreads its legs. All brightly colored surfaces of the body protrude. Some species arch the abdomen and raise the elytra and wings, emitting a characteristic rustle.
Origin of mantis name
Back in 1758, the great Swedish naturalist Karl Linley gave the academic name of the praying mantis. Because of such striking similarity, the scientist gave the insect the Latin name “Mantis religiosa”, which literally translates as “religious priest,” the actual name “mantis” came to our language.
Although he is not called so everywhere, our hero has other, not so benign names, for example, in Spain he is called Caballito del Diablo - the horse of the devil or simply - muerte - death. Such terrible names, obviously, are connected with not less terrible habits of praying mantis.
What a mantis looks like: structure and characteristics
The structure of the praying mantis is characterized by an elongated body that distinguishes it from other arthropod insects.
The praying mantis is perhaps the only living creature that can easily turn its, triangular shape, head 360 degrees. Thanks to such a useful skill, he can see the enemy approaching from behind. And he has only one ear, but despite this, just a great ear.
The eyes of the mantis complex facet structure, located on the sides of the head, but besides them, our hero has three more simple eyes over the base of the antennae.
Antennae praying mantis are crested, pinnate or filiform, depending on the species of the insect.
Praying mantises, almost all of their species, have well-developed wings, but only males can fly, females, because of their greater weight and size, fly more difficult than males. The wings of the praying mantis consist of two pairs: the front and the back, and the front serve as a kind of wing covering that protects the rear wings. Also, pilgrimage wings usually have bright colors, and sometimes they even meet peculiar patterns. But among the many varieties of praying mantis there is such an earthen praying mantis (the Latin name is Geomantis larvoides), which has no wings at all.
In praying mantis, the forelimbs are well developed, having a rather uneasy structure - each of them consists of many parts: trochanters, thighs, legs and legs. From the bottom of the thigh there are large sharp spines located in three rows. Also spikes (although smaller) are also present on the lower leg of the praying mantis, which at the end is decorated with a sharp, needle-like hook. The illustrative structure of the foot of the praying mantis, see the picture.
Mantis hold their prey just between the thigh and shin until their meal is over.
The mantis blood circulation is primitive, but it has its own reason - an unusual breathing system. The mantis is supplied with oxygen by a complex system of trachea connected with dychalets (stigmas) on the abdomen in the middle and back of the body. In the trachea there are air bags that increase the ventilation of the entire respiratory system.
Dimensions of mantis
Above, we have already mentioned that the female mantis are much larger than the males, oddly enough, this is where their main sex difference manifests itself.
The type of mantis, called in Latin Ischnomantis gigas and living in Africa can reach 17 cm in length, perhaps, this representative of the praying kingdom is a real champion in size.
Ischnomantis gigas - the largest mantis in the world.
Heterochaeta orientalis is inferior to it a little, or Eastern Heterocheta, it reaches 16 cm in length. Ordinary praying mantises have much smaller sizes, on average no more than 0.5-1.5 cm in length.
Color of mantis
Like many other insects, praying mantises have excellent camouflage abilities, this biological method of protection against predators, and because of this, their colors have green, yellow and brown tones, depending on the environment. Green praying mantises live on green leaves, while brown ones are inseparable from the bark of trees.
What feeds the mantis
It is no secret that our hero is a notorious predator, who loves to feed on both smaller insects and who is not afraid to attack prey larger than himself. They eat flies, mosquitoes, bees, wasps, bumblebees, butterflies, beetles, etc. Large members of the praying family (see above) can attack even small rodents, birds and small amphibians: frogs, lizards.
Praying mantises are usually from ambush, suddenly grab prey with their front paws and do not let go until fully eaten. Strong jaws allow these gluttons to eat even a relatively large sacrifice.
The enemies of the mantis
Although praying mantises are excellent hunter predators, they themselves can also become prey to snakes, some birds or bats. But the main enemies of the mantis, perhaps, are their own kindred - the other mantises. Frequent battle for life and death between two rivals mantis. The fights themselves, both between the praying mantis and with other insects, are quite spectacular; first of all, the praying mantis tends to frighten the opponent, for this it takes on a special awesome pose - throws its front paws forward and raising its belly. All this may be accompanied by corresponding threatening sounds. Such a demonstration of power is by no means played out; the praying mantises are desperately brave and with courage rush even to a far greater rival. Thanks to such courage and courage, praying mantises often come out victorious from such fights.
Where does the mantis
Almost everywhere, as their habitat is very wide: Central and Southern Europe, Asia, North and South America, Africa, Australia. They are not only in the northern regions, since the mantises are not very familiar to the cold. But they are great, for example, the hot and humid climate of tropical Africa and South America. Mantis feel great in rainforests, and in the steppe regions, and in the rocky deserts.
They rarely move from place to place, preferring their usual habitat to unknown distant places, the only reason capable of encouraging them to travel is the lack of food supply.
The European Mantis lives in most countries of Europe, Asia, and Africa. Praying mantis is a very large representative of the pilgrim kingdom, reaching up to 7 cm (female) and 6 cm (male). As a rule, they are green or brown in color, the wings are well developed, at least it is not a problem to fly from branch to branch for an ordinary praying mantis. The abdomen is egg-shaped. To distinguish this type of mantis can be on the black spot, which is located on the basins of the front pair of legs from the inside.
Obviously, China is the birthplace and main habitat of this type of mantis. The Chinese mantis is pretty large, females reach up to 15 cm in length, but the size of the males is much more modest. Have green and brown colors. A characteristic distinction of the Chinese praying mantis is their nocturnal lifestyle, while their other relatives sleep at night. Also, young individuals of Chinese praying mantis do not have wings that grow only after a few molts, and then they acquire the ability to fly.
Mantis Creobroter meleagris
Mantis Creobroter meleagris lives in southwest Asia: India, Vietnam, Cambodia and several other countries. Usually reach 5 cm in length. The colors are white and cream. You can recognize them by strips of light brown color that run all over your body and head. Also on the wings they have one small and a large spot of white or cream color.
Indian floral mantis
He mantis Creobroter gemmatus especially loves the wet forests of southern India, Vietnam and other Asian countries. This species is small, females grow to only 40 mm, males up to 38 mm. The body is more elongated than other relatives. And for additional protection, on the thighs of the Indian praying mantis there are special thorns of different heights. Painted in cream colors. Representatives of this species are excellent flyers, and both males and females, due to their low weight, besides both pairs of wings are well developed. Interestingly, on the front wings they have a spot, similar to an eye with two pupils, which deters predators. There live floral praying mantises, as their names imply in the flowers of plants, where they watch their prey.
Spiny Flower Praying Mantis
He mantis Pseudocreobotra wahlbergii lives in the countries of southern and eastern Africa. By way of life, size, very similar to the Indian floral praying mantis. But its coloring is especially interesting - it is really artistic, on the upper pair of wings an interesting pattern resembling a spiral or even an eye. On the abdomen of this species there are additional spines, which gave it such a name.
Orchid praying mantis - in our opinion is the most beautiful representatives of the praying world. Its name also received not casual, namely for the appearance of the beautiful orchids, on which he actually hides in wait, waiting for the next victim. Orchid praying mantis females are exactly twice as large as males: 80 mm versus 40. Orchid praying mantises even among other praying mantis are remarkable for amazing bravery, representatives of this species are not afraid to attack even insects twice their size.
Eastern heteroheta or spiky-eyed mantis is one of the largest praying mantis in the world (the female reaches 15 cm in length) and lives in most of Africa. These praying mantises live in the branches of bushes, the benefit of their appearance also resembles twigs.
And here we go to the most interesting part, namely the reproduction of praying mantis, as a rule, having a sad and tragic end for males. But let's not get ahead of ourselves, but let's start in order. Males of the mantis with the onset of the mating period (usually in the fall) with the help of the organs of charm begin the search for females ready for mating. Finding this, he performs in front of her special "marriage dance", which translates it into the rank of sexual partner. Then the mating process itself begins, during which the female mantis has a bad habit of biting its head off and then completely eating it. Some scientists believe that such behavior is more than terrible in our opinion and has its own biological causes - after eating its “groom” the female, in such a simple way replenishes the reserves of nutrient protein substances necessary for future offspring.
Although it also happens that the male manages to get away from his “favorite” in time, rather than avoid the sad fate of food.
After some time, the fertilized female lays eggs, while enveloping them with a special sticky secret that is allocated to their special glands. This secret serves as a kind of protective capsule for future praying mantis eggs and is called an oteca. The fecundity of the female depends on her species, usually the female is able to lay 10 to 400 eggs at a time.
In the eggs, the praying mantis larvae stay from three weeks to six months, after which they crawl out of the eggs. Далее их развитие идет в довольно таки быстром темпе и примерно через 4-8 линек личинка перерождается уже во взрослого богомола.
Содержание богомолов в домашних условиях
Весьма экзотическим и необычным поступком будет завести себе домашнего богомола, не так ли? Тем не менее, есть люди, которые имеют таких вот «питомцев» и если вы тоже хотите к ним присоединиться, то первое о чем вам придется позаботиться это террариум. Подойдет сравнительно небольшой, стеклянной или пластиковый террариум с сетчатой крышкой, размеры его должны хотя бы в три раза превосходить размеры самого богомола. Внутри хорошо бы разместить веточки или небольшие растения, по которым богомол будет лазить аки по деревьям.
Богомолы – теплолюбивые насекомые, так что оптимальной температурой для них будет от +23 до +30 С. Можно применить специальные обогреватели для террариумов.
Также не стоит забывать о влажности, которая также важна для этих насекомых. The optimum humidity for praying mantis is 40-60% and to maintain it you can put a small container with water inside the terrarium.
What to feed mantis at home
Live food. Perfect crickets, grasshoppers, cockroaches, flies. Some species of praying mantis will not mind eating ants. And feed with all of this they need to be regularly, so to keep such "pets" can be somewhat troublesome. But the praying mantis do not need water, since they receive the necessary body fluid from food.
Interesting facts about praying mantis
- The name of the mantis is one of the styles of Chinese martial arts Wushu, according to legend, this style was invented by a Chinese peasant who watches over the hunting of mantis.
- In the Soviet Union at one time they wanted to use industrially the praying mantis as a biological defense against pests of agricultural plantings. The truth of this undertaking had to be abandoned, since the praying mantis ate and beneficial insects, the same bees.
- Since ancient times, praying mantises have been frequent heroes of various myths and legends among African and Asian peoples, for example in China, they personified stubbornness and greed, and the ancient Greeks attributed to them the ability to predict the onset of spring.
Mantis - description, structure, characteristics. What does a mantis look like?
Almost all praying mantises have an elongated body with a characteristic structure that distinguishes them from other arthropod insects. The movable head of the praying mantis has an almost triangular shape and is capable of rotating almost around its axis. Due to this, the insect can see the enemy approaching from behind.
Photo by: PiccoloNamek, CC BY-SA 3.0
The convex large facet eyes of the praying mantis have a complex structure and are located far from each other along the side edges of the head. Besides them, the insect has 3 simple ocelli, which are above the base of the antennae.
Photo author: Luc Viatour / www.Lucnix.be, CC BY-SA 3.0
The antennae of the praying mantis consist of numerous segments and, depending on the species of the insect, are filiform, cirrus or crested. The mouth apparatus of praying mantis is of the gnawing type and is directed downwards.
Filamentary antennae. Author photo: Fir0002, GFDL 1.2
Comb antennae. Author photo: Raúl Baena Casado, CC BY 2.0
Cirrus tendrils. Author photo: Stas Shinkarenko
A characteristic feature of the insects of this order is that the pronotum, extended in the upper part, almost never covers the head. The soft, slightly flattened belly, consists of 10 segments.
Photo author: Luc Viatour / www.Lucnix.be, CC BY-SA 3.0
The last segment of the abdomen ends with long paired appendages of numerous segments, cerci, which are the organs of smell. In males, cerci are better developed than in females.
Cerci and ovipositor of female praying mantis Stagmomantis carolina. Author photo: Kaldari, Public Domain
In almost all species of praying mantis, both the front and rear pair of wings are well developed, thanks to which the insect can fly. It is noteworthy that the narrow and dense wings of the front pair serve as a kind of elytra that protect the rear wings. The back pair of wings is wide, has many membranes and is folded fanlike. Often the mantis wings are brightly colored or have a certain pattern on them. But there are also species of praying mantis, completely devoid of wings and resembling larvae in appearance. Such, for example, is the earthen mantis (Latin Geomantis larvoides).
Mantis Blepharopsis mendica. Author photo: MathKnight and Zachi Evenor, CC BY 3.0
Mantis Tithrone roseipennis, Author photo: Didier Descouens, CC BY 3.0
Earthen Mantis. Photo by: Aemestrix
In the thoracic region of these insects, the front pair of limbs is particularly well developed. Each of them consists of an elongated coxa, trochanter, and hip, which is slightly longer in size than the coxae, tibia, and paw, consisting of 5 segments. In its lower part of the thigh it is studded with large sharp spikes, arranged in 3 rows, the lower leg also has spikes, albeit smaller, and at the end of the lower leg there is a sharp needle-shaped hook. The last segments of the paws end with two claws of rather large size.
Along the entire length of the thigh there is a groove in which the lower leg is inserted, similar to the blade of a folding knife that retracts into the handle. Mantis capture and preserve their prey between the thigh and shin until the process of eating food is completed. The middle and back pairs of legs have a typical arthropod structure.
Forelimbs of Mantis Otomantis scutigera. Author photo: Bernard DUPONT, CC BY-SA 2.0
The circulatory system in praying mantis is rather primitively developed, which is a consequence of the way of breathing. The body is supplied with oxygen due to a complex branched system of trachea, which are connected to spiracles (stigmas) lying on several segments of the abdomen, as well as located on the middle and posterior parts of the body. Expansions (air bags) may form in the trachea, which increase ventilation of the entire respiratory system.
Sexual differences in praying mantis are quite pronounced and manifest in the size of individuals: females are always much larger than males.
Left female, right male common praying mantis. Left photo author: Alvesgaspar, CC BY-SA 3.0. Author photo on the right: Nicolas Weghaupt, Public domain
Some praying mantises can reach a length of 17 cm, for example, the species Ischnomantis gigas, which lives in Africa, or Heterochaeta orientalis, which is also called Eastern heterochaetes and reaches a size of 16 cm. -1.5 cm in length - such, for example, are the praying mantis.
Taken from the site: www.deine-tierwelt.de
Baby praying mantis Armene pusilla. Photo by: togRa / Gracheva T.O.
The body color of the praying mantis depends on the environment, as it is camouflaged. There are praying mantises like green leaves, flowers or sticks, other types imitate the bark of trees, lichens, or even the black color of ashes after a fire.
The appearance of Gonatista grisea is almost impossible to distinguish from whitish growths on a tree. Author photo: Yaroslav Kuznetsov, CC BY-SA 4.0
Deroplatys lobata is very similar to the brown leaf. Author photo: Fritz Geller-Grimm, CC BY-SA 3.0
The view of Choeradodis rhombicollis resembles a green leaf of a tree. Author photo: Benjamint444, GFDL 1.2
Humbertiella sp. disguised under the bark of a tree. Author photo: L. Shyamal, CC BY-SA 3.0
It is unlikely that you will notice the Pogonogaster tristani mantis on the background of green moss. Author photo: Leonardo Miranda Di Giambattista, CC BY-SA 3.0
Most praying mantis are colored green, yellow or brown, although there are species with brighter and more contrasting colors. It is noteworthy that the colors of individuals of one species can vary quite strongly, as well as change after each molt.
Metallyticus splendidus shimmers with different colors and has a metallic sheen in color. Photo by: 김준석
Types of praying mantis, photos and titles.
There are more than 2,000 species of praying mantis. Below is a description of several varieties.
- Mantis Ordinary (Latin Mantis religiosa) lives in most countries of Europe, Asia and Africa. In the area of its distribution includes Portugal and Spain, Italy and France, Turkey, Germany, Austria and Poland, as well as numerous islands of the Mediterranean Sea. This species is found on the territory of Sudan and Egypt, in Israel and Iran, as well as in Russia, starting from the southern regions and ending with the Primorsky Territory. The introduced populations are noted in Australia and North America. The common praying mantis is a rather large insect whose size reaches 4.8-7.6 cm in females and 4.0-6.1 cm in males. Individuals are colored green or brown with a yellow tinge. Transparent mantis wings, edged with green or brown edging, are well developed. The rather long abdomen is ovoid. A distinctive feature of this species is a black spot, which is located on both basins of the front pair of legs from the inside. Often in the center of the spot is visible bright spot.
Photo by: Père Igor, CC BY-SA 4.0
- Chinese mantis (Chinese bowing mantis) (Latin Tenodera aridifolia, Tenodera sinensis) is an endemic species that is naturally distributed throughout China. Adult mantis females reach 15 cm in length, the size of males is much more modest. The color of these insects does not depend on gender and is green or brown. Nymphs and juveniles lack wings. The ability to fly Chinese mantises gain only after a few molts. Vital activity Tenodera sinensis manifests at night. Life expectancy is 5-6 months.
Photo by: 池田 正 樹
- Creob Mantisroter meleagris widely distributed in Bhutan, India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Vietnam, Laos, Pakistan, and other countries in the South Asian region. Adults can reach 5 centimeters in length. The main body color of the praying mantis is cream or white. Throughout the body, head and legs are different widths of a strip of light brown color. Elytra and pronotum painted in olive green tones. Elytra has one small and one large speck of white or cream color. The larger spot has the shape of an ellipse, which is outlined above and below in black.
Taken from the site: www.nhm.ac.uk
- Mantis Creobroter gemmatuswhich is also called indian floral mantis, is a typical inhabitant of the humid forests of India, Vietnam and other countries of South Asia. Mature males of this species of praying mantis reach a length of 38 mm, females are larger and grow to 40 mm. The body of the insect is elongated, and the pronotum width is noticeably smaller than its length. On the hips there are several spikes of different heights. The body is cream colored with brown or greenish specks. Both pairs of wings are well developed, and on the upper pair, performing the role of elytra, there is a large bright spot that resembles an eye with two pupils and serves to scare off predators. The wings of males are longer than those of females. Due to the fact that the lower wings of the praying mantis, painted at the base in pink and brown, have numerous membranes, the impression of a fancy scaly pattern is created. Insect lives in the flowers of plants, where it waits for prey in the daytime.
- Mantis Pseudocreobotra wahlbergii lives in areas with hot and humid climates. Other unofficial names for this insect - spiked or spiny flower mantis. This species lives in the countries of southern and eastern Africa: Kenya, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Zambia, Botswana, Zanzibar, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Namibia, South Africa, and also in Madagascar, Mauritius, and Reunion. The size of adults is quite modest. The length of the females does not exceed 40 mm, and the males - 30 mm. The color of these praying mantis is not uniform - it combines white, cream, pinkish, yellow and green tones. On the upper pair of wings there is a rather interesting pattern, resembling an eye of green color or a small spiral. It is noteworthy that the curls of these spirals on the right and left wing are directed towards each other. These insects have thorns not only on the surface of the forelimbs, but also on the belly - hence the name of this praying mantis.
Taken from the site: media1.webgarden.cz
Taken from the site: media1.webgarden.cz
- Orchid mantis (Latin Hymenopus coronatus) distributed in tropical forests of India, Malaysia and Indonesia. This insect is considered one of the most beautiful representatives of the squad. It got its name because of its resemblance to orchid flowers, on which it hides while waiting for its victim. The sexually mature female mantis has quite impressive dimensions and grows up to 80 mm in length. The size of males is much more modest and does not exceed 40 mm. A distinctive feature of this species are wide forelimbs, head of small size and filiform antennae. The main body color of orchid mantis is white. However, it can vary depending on which flower the insect is sitting in ambush. Various shades of pink, orange, yellow, lilac or purple can be added to the basic tone. This type of mantis is characterized by increased aggressiveness. They can attack prey, which is twice the size of a hunter. By the way, the larvae of the orchid mantis have a very unusual red and black coloring, which scares off potential enemies from them.
- MantisIdolomantisdiabolica, which is also called Bloody flower or Devil flower lives in Ethiopia, Tanzania, Kenya, Somalia, Uganda and other countries in East Africa, where he lives on the branches of shrubs and trees. Adult mantises of this species have rather large sizes. Females can reach a length of 14 cm with a wingspan of about 16 cm. Males of mantis are slightly smaller in size and less than 11 cm in length. The color of these insects can vary from different shades of green to light brown. The spikes located on the hips of the front legs have different lengths. Three shorter ones are visible between the long spines. A distinctive feature of this species are characteristic leaf-shaped appendages, formed by extended cuticles, which are located on the back, as well as on the middle and hind limbs. In addition, unlike other species, in Idolomantis diabolica, the top of the head tapers as a cone. Mantis of this species are very often kept in home terrariums.
Taken from the site: archiwum.allegro.pl
- Eastern heterochaeta (lat. Heterochaeta orientalis), which also has an unofficial name spiked mantis, lives in most countries in Africa. The female mantis reaches 15 cm in length. Males are smaller and grow up to 12 cm. Due to the fact that these insects live in the branches of shrubs, their appearance has unusual features that give them a similarity to the knots or twigs. In addition, these African praying mantis have thorns located not only on the hips and legs of the forelimbs, but also along the upper edges of the head, which has the shape of a triangle. This creates the impression that the insect's eyes are wrapped around these thorns. Such a structure of the organs of vision in combination with a long “neck” located between the head and the front shoulder, enables the praying mantis of this species to easily see the prey or enemies not only in front and side, but also behind. It is remarkable, but the body of the insect at this moment can remain completely motionless. Coloring individuals depends on their age. If they are characterized by shades of brown in the larvae stage, then shades of lime are inherent in the imago.
Taken from the site: www.deine-tierwelt.de
Photo by: Aleania
- Mantis Empusa pennata - a species from the Empusa genus, which is distributed almost throughout the whole of Africa, in most countries of Asia, as well as in Portugal, Spain and Andorra, Monaco, Italy, Greece, Malta and Cyprus. Adult males of the mantis are somewhat smaller than females, which grow to 10 cm in length. A distinctive feature of the mantis is a kind of high growth on the head, resembling in shape a kind of crown. In males the antennae are of the comb type, and the head is crowned with additional thorns that look like feathers. The color of the mantis depends on the environment and is subject to change. For these insects are characterized by green, yellow or pink colors, as well as various shades of brown.
Photo author: Redpit7, CC BY-SA 4.0
- MantisPhyllocraniaparadoxa lives in rather arid regions of Africa, located south of the Sahara desert, and also on the island of Madagascar, where it lives in the branches of shrubs and trees. Due to the peculiar shape of the body, resembling a leaf of a plant, it easily manages to hide from natural enemies and successfully hunt small insects. This masking is provided by special outgrowths on the body and head of the praying mantis. Moreover, the processes on the head of the male are rather bent and slightly thinner than those of the female. The imago of this species are rather small in size. Females grow to a maximum of 5 cm, males are smaller. Protective coloration varies with air humidity and temperature. If the air temperature is low and the humidity is high, the insects have a green or gray-green color. When the humidity level drops and the temperature rises, the praying mantis become brown or dark brown.
Photo by: Mydriatic, GFDL
- MantisMetallyticussplendidus lives in India, Malaysia on Sumatra and in other countries of Southeast Asia. It hunts prey in the branches of trees or shrubs, as well as under the bark. Mature males can reach sexually mature males about 2 cm long. Females are slightly larger and grow up to 3 cm long. The body of these insects is slightly flattened in the direction from the back to the abdomen. Sexual dimorphism is expressed not only in size, but also in the coloring of individuals. Males are characterized by blue-green hues with a pronounced metallic overflow of blue. In females the body is painted in green tones with shiny bronze sheaths.
Photo by: Notafly, CC BY-SA 3.0
- MantisAmelesspallanziania widely distributed in Egypt, Sudan, Libya, Tunisia, Portugal, Spain, Italy, San Marino, Greece. The habitat of this species also includes Cyprus, Malta and other countries of Southern Europe and North Africa. The size of these insects is quite modest, and the length of males rarely exceeds 1 cm, and females can reach a length of 3 cm. It is also possible to distinguish a male from a female by the presence of wings. If they are well developed in males and allow it to make fairly long flights, then this organ is reduced in females, so they are deprived of the ability to move through the air. The eyes of the praying mantis are conical. The color of insects is variable and can vary from bright shades of green to brown and taupe. В отличие от других видов, у этих богомолов задняя пара конечностей короткая, но сильная.
Автор фото: Thomas Huntke, CC BY-SA 3.0
- БогомолBlepharopsismendica, который также имеет неофициальное название чертополоховый богомол, встречается в Египте, Судане, Тунисе, Израиле, Иордании, Ираке, Йемене и других странах Северной Африки и юго-западной части Азии. Эти насекомые обитают в пустынных, а также горных районах. Самцы по своим размерам немного меньше самок, которые могут достигать в длину 5,2-6,1 см. Кроме того, усики самцов имеют гребенчатое строение. Отличительным признаком вида также является характерный вырост на верхушке головы. На боковой поверхности бедра и голени имеется множество шипов разного размера. Окраска особей может быть зеленоватой или коричневатой с многочисленными белыми пятнышками, которые сливаются в причудливые узоры.
Author photo: Juan Emilio, CC BY-SA 2.0
- Mantis Rhombodera basalis lives in the tropical belt of Malaysia, Thailand and India. Adult females can grow up to 8-9 cm in length, males are slightly smaller. A characteristic feature of the praying mantis is a slightly enlarged pronotum, resembling a rhombus. The body and elytra of the insect are colored turquoise-green with a blue tint. The back pair of membranous wings is partially painted in bright pink tones.
Author photo: Luc Viatour, CC BY-SA 3.0
- Malaysian leaf-like mantis (Latin Deroplatys dessicata) widespread in tropical forests of Malaysia or Indonesia, and in the wet thickets in Sumatra and Borneo. Females of the Malaysian leaf-like praying mantis are much larger than males. Their length can reach 15 cm, while males grow to a maximum of 6 cm. This species has good masking abilities due to the special shape of the head and body, which give it a resemblance to withering foliage. Therefore, the color of the insect has a rather narrow color palette, which includes all shades of brown.
Author photo: Adrian Pingstone, Public domain
- Mantis Deroplatys lobata lives in the wet forests of Malaysia, as well as in the tropical thickets on the Borneo and Sumatra islands. It prefers to hunt in the foliage of trees or small shrubs, as well as in their inverted roots. In appearance, these insects strongly resemble wilted leaves, which serves them not only as an excellent disguise, which protects against enemies, but also helps to lay low and wait for prey. The color of the body and paws is monotonous and can be of different shades of gray or brown. Adult females grow up to 8 cm in length, while males barely reach 5 cm. Unlike females, males have developed wings, so they can fly, and females due to reduced wings have lost this ability.
Author photo: Fritz Geller-Grimm, CC BY-SA 3.0
- Mantis Aethalochroa insignis lives in India. This is a very large insect whose length is 15-20 cm, including the antennae. Praying mantis camouflage makes it look like a blade of grass.
Author photo: Nnsolanki, CC BY-SA 4.0