Several years ago, Florida Marlins’ outfielder Logan Morrison was attacked by a praying mantis. His reaction was priceless. He jumped backwards, rubbed up against others and wiggled around until it flew off. The announcers, his teammates and the fans all had a few good laughs at his expense. Yet his reaction was probably more subdued than what others would have done. (video at bottom)
Most people don’t really understand much about the praying mantis, so we thought we’d give you some fun praying mantis facts!
* The praying mantis is a ferocious predator.
* You can sometimes find an advertisement for mantis’s you can purchase and release in the garden. The advertisement states they are beneficial insects because they eat lots of bugs. While that’s true, they eat everything – including the other beneficial insects such as the lady bug or the bees that are pollinating your flowers.
* Their name came from the Greek word mantikos, which stands for prophet or soothsayer. They tend to stand with their front legs clasped together as if they are in prayer.
* They actually use this stance to help catch their prey. As a bee, wasp or fly passes by; they quickly reach out their arms and snatch their dinner from the air. Their grasp is very strong.
* They will bite the back of their dinner’s neck in order to paralyze it before they begin to eat.
* Some larger mantis’ can even eat lizards, frogs or birds.
* The mantis is originally from the tropics and was introduced to the United States. There are no native species.
* They can turn their heads 180 degrees. It’s not unusual to try to sneak up on a mantis from the back only to have them turn their head and stare straight at you.
* They can see up to 60 feet away.
* Some mantis’ only have one ear and it’s located on their abdomen. Although it can’t really hear sound well, it can hear ultrasound vibrations.
* This allows the praying mantis to avoid becoming prey for predators such as bats.
* A praying mantis can actually stop in mid-flight and drop away to evade an incoming bat.
* Other mantis’ have no ears and cannot detect sound. These mantises can’t fly.
* When it comes to the biological family, the mantis is considered to be closely related to the cockroach and the termite.
* Female mantis’ have a tendency to eat their male counterpart. Unlike the black widow, they may not mate first. But sometimes they do. No matter, the males aren’t deterred from mating.
* Females can lay hundreds of eggs at a time.
* When the mantis hatches from the eggs, it looks like a tiny version of the adult.