Praying Mantis Life Cycle - Learn About Nature (2022)

Do you know what makes the praying mantis life cycle so special? If you haven’t heard of them previously, insects known as praying mantises have triangular-shaped heads and a posture that gives the impression that they are praying. Mantis frequently have postures that are reminiscent of human prayer. As a result, the term “praying” mantis may also be used to describe this action.

Praying mantises are known as predators that eat many different types of insects, including flies, grasshoppers, moths, and crickets, and are widely regarded as beneficial. This could be one of the many reasons why the stages of the praying mantis life cycle are so interesting for any nature lover.

In this article, you will learn about the praying mantis life cycle and other interesting characteristics that make these creatures unique.

Contents

  • 1 General Info About the Praying Mantis
  • 2 Praying Mantis Life Cycle
    • 2.1 Eggs
    • 2.2 Nymphs
    • 2.3 Adolescents
    • 2.4 Adult
  • 3 How to Manage Praying Mantises?
  • 4 What Affects the Praying Mantis Life Cycle?
  • 5 Interesting Facts About Praying Mantis
  • 6 Final Words

General Info About the Praying Mantis

Before we discuss the praying mantis life cycle, let’s briefly review the physical characteristics of this extraordinary insect.

(Video) Praying Mantis life cycle

Not only can the name of this insect catch people’s attention immediately, but they also stand out with their looks. The truth is that the different look of the praying mantis makes it an easily identifiable insect. They have a stretched-out, long, thin body in the middle of which the legs are attached. They have two large compound eyes on a tiny, triangular skull. They are holding their amazing, enormous front legs straight in front of their faces.

However, depending on the environment, they can have bodies that range in color from green to pink, but the majority are pea green or brown. These creatures typically live for six months, although this can increase to a year. The Mantis comes in more than 1800 distinct varieties worldwide. But, only around 20 different types of these insects are found in the US; the majority are tropical insects.

Praying Mantis Life Cycle

The praying mantis life cycle consists of 3 main stages – egg stage, nymph stage, and adult. As a result of this partial metamorphosis, juveniles resemble adults only in size. On the other hand, complete metamorphosis results in an organism having 4 life phases, with juveniles having a considerably different appearance from adults.

READ MORE: Spiny Flower Mantis Care Sheet

The first stage of the praying mantis life cycle is the egg stage, which later turns into a nymph. Once the nymphs of the praying mantis start emerging from the egg case, they begin to disperse in search of food. The small wingless nymphs tend to be predators as well. They usually search for organisms that are smaller than them to hunt.

The adult stage is the final state of the praying mantis life cycle. Interestingly, praying mantis in several species have wings, and some can fly. Females tend to have shorter wings and heavier bodies, so they are not as competent fliers as their male counterparts.

(Video) Praying Mantis Life Cycle - Life cycles unit

Now let’s dive deeper and discuss the stages of the praying mantis life cycle more in-depth.

Eggs

The egg stage is when the praying mantis life cycle begins. The basic existence of a mantis begins with the female laying an egg mass, which begins as a frothy structure and solidifies into a structure like styrofoam and contains 200 or more eggs. The sole component of the life cycle that can endure a frost and a winter is the egg case.

When the eggs are firmly placed on a solid leaf or stem, the protective sac structure known as the ootheca forms. The ootheca, a robust protective shell that can resist considerable weather changes, will house the eggs over the whole winter. The egg shells will shatter in the middle of spring when it’s warm, and the nymphs will emerge.

Nymphs

The newborn nymphs first hang around near the egg casing. During this stage, the mantis tries to eat each other. Before beginning to hunt for little insects like fruit flies, they will disperse. Nymphs grow in stages known as instars – it’s also an integral part of the praying mantis life cycle, which is repeated development periods.

At each stage, the nymphs molt to promote the development of body parts and increase body size. They go through around six molts before they may go on to the next stage of the praying mantis life cycle. Not all nymphs survive this stage since they are prey for larger predators like bats, birds, and spiders.

Adolescents

Nymph mantises are smaller than adult mantises in size. In contrast to adult mantises, they can shed their exoskeletons. Mantises usually display sleepiness and intermittent eating before their molt.

(Video) Praying Mantis Life Cycle

Because molting takes a few hours and necessitates the mantis to remain there, it increases its susceptibility to predators. The molting process is over when it reaches adulthood at the beginning of the summer.

READ MORE: Violin Mantis

Adult

Mantises vary in size based on their species and are typically 1 to 6 inches long when fully grown. Male and female mantises may be recognized by the heavier abdomens of the females. Mantises will also feed on small nesting birds, mice, lizards, and tree frogs, in addition to small insects.

Interestingly, the female praying mantis eats the male mantis’ head after mating because it lowers his sex desire, which is an unusual habit in insects. She consumes the remainder of the male’s body after mating. After depositing eggs, the female mantis often passes away.

How to Manage Praying Mantises?

Praying mantis are frequently seen as good predators since they can and will eat a lot of different invertebrates in your garden. However, you should be aware that when hunting for food, they don’t distinguish between good and evil bugs.

Chinese mantis egg cases are frequently offered for sale by garden supply companies, which promote them as biological pest control for your garden. However, these predators may ultimately cause more harm than good.

(Video) My Summer by P Mantis/ praying mantis life cycle

If you want to remove them from your home or garden, put on gloves before handling the mantis. The forelegs and the mouth should be in front of your hands when you attempt to pick them up. The bite of praying mantises is painful, and they have strong, pointed forelegs. They lack venom and cannot kill humans, but they may harm you with their strong forelegs and bite. The gloves can reduce that chance.

Even though you might not want them in your yard, mantises are generally useful. You can check if the mantis is wanted by another gardener or if a school can utilize it as a teaching tool. If you can’t remove them by relocating, it is entirely lawful to kill the praying mantis to get rid of it.

What Affects the Praying Mantis Life Cycle?

A praying mantis life cycle is governed by several factors. These include the availability and standard of the food they eat. The availability of more nutrient-rich food increases the praying mantis’ chances of continuing to grow.

Whether they are living in the wild or being kept as pets, it will have a significant impact on how long they live. A praying mantis kept in captivity won’t be in danger from the various natural predators that it could have to deal with.

READ MORE: Praying Mantis Fact - In Spite of Female Cannibalism Makes a Lovely Docile Domestic Pet

Interesting Facts About Praying Mantis

  • Did you know that, before becoming an adult, praying mantises must shed their exoskeleton—the outer layer of skin—12 times? When they hatch, they are little versions of adults, and as they become bigger, they shed their skin.
  • In the fall, the female praying mantis lays her eggs on a twig or stem, covering them with a material like Styrofoam that she secretes from her body. This creates an ootheca, a protected egg container where her progeny will spend the winter months growing.
  • When leaves from trees and bushes have fallen in the winter, mantis egg casings are simple to see. But use caution! Small mantis may infest your home if you bring an overwintering ootheca inside.
  • The oldest mantis fossils are between 146 and 66 million years old, and they come from the Cretaceous Period. Some characteristics seen in modern mantis are absent in these early mantis specimens. They lack the spines on their forelegs and the elongated pronotum or lengthened neck of contemporary mantis.
  • More than likely, the white praying mantis is only going through a stage in its development cycle. After each molt that nymphs experience before becoming adults, the praying mantis turns completely white, sometimes even taking on an albino appearance. The white praying mantis, on the other hand, only lasts a short while before changing to its mature hues of green or brown.
  • A praying mantis has two large eyes, and they use these compound eyes to decipher visual cues. However, it’s rather surprising that this insect comes with just one ear, which is under its belly. As a result, they can’t differentiate the direction or frequency of various sounds.

Final Words

The life cycle of these insects with triangular heads has three main phases. They are among the most unusual species because of their distinctive physical features. Although they are regarded as beneficial insects, you should be aware that they consume both good and harmful insects, which might harm your garden.

(Video) True Facts About The Mantis | Praying Mantis life Cycle | Natural History

The life cycle of the praying mantis is rather unique compared to that of other insects; each stage is fascinating and has its own complexity. The special qualities of the praying mantis make it very special, just like every other living thing in nature.

FAQs

What is the life cycle of a praying mantis? ›

The praying mantis has three life stages: egg, nymph, and adult. This is considered incomplete metamorphosis, where the juveniles look just like adults, only smaller. This is in contrast to complete metamorphosis, in which the organism has four life stages and juveniles look significantly different than adults.

What are the three stages in the life cycle of a praying mantis? ›

Life Cycle: Mantids undergo incomplete metamorphosis and have 3 life stages: egg, a nymph stage which resembles a smaller wingless adult, and adult. Egg clusters are protected inside papery cases known as ootheca.

How do praying mantis adapt to their environment? ›

Hunting adaptations

Mantids can turn their heads 180 degrees to scan their surroundings with two large compound eyes and three other simple eyes located between them. Typically green or brown and well camouflaged on the plants among which they live, mantis lie in ambush or patiently stalk their quarry.

Are mantis good for the environment? ›

Because Praying Mantises will go after a ton of different types of pests, they can act as an effective form of organic pest control. They've been heralded as helpers to both farmers and gardeners because they de facto “protect” crops, both commercial and personal.

Where do mantis live? ›

The Praying Mantis is found in many differing habitats. They are generally located in the warmer regions, particularly tropical and subtropical latitudes. Most species live in the tropical rainforest, although others can be found in deserts, grasslands and meadowlands.

How long is the life of a praying mantis? ›

The lifespan of a mantis depends on the species; smaller ones may live 4–8 weeks, while larger species may live 4–6 months.

How long does it take for mantis to grow? ›

Large species generally live longer than small species. Also females generally live longer than males. When buying a praying mantis nymph, it will take between 4 and 6 months to reach maturity and when adult is will live for another 3 to 8 months.

How long can praying mantis live without food? ›

A Mantis can survive for as many as 6 weeks without food. This of course would be cruel if you left them without for such a long period, but important to know. Don't panic if your feeding schedule may be upset while your feeding cultures regenerate and hatch or while your delivery make take a week or so.

Can praying mantis change color? ›

The temperature, humidity, and light intensity of their habitat all play a role in mantis's adaptations. The praying mantis is one type that can change color from green to brown and vice versa. While in its nymph phase, the praying mantis can take on a brownish hue after molting.

Do praying mantis eat plants? ›

Praying Mantis will only eat meat and won't consume any plants. However, they supplement their diet with pollen and the bees and flies that are attracted by it. Flowers, grass, and leaves of plants are camouflage for praying mantis, not food. Praying Mantis are quite beneficial to a garden.

Do praying mantises live in trees? ›

Praying mantises live in grasses and trees all around us, maybe even in your own backyard, but we don't usually see them because their camouflage keeps them hidden. A praying mantis is an insect. All insects have three body parts: a head, a body called a thorax and an abdomen, which is the back end of the insect.

What is special about praying mantis? ›

Praying mantids have long necks topped by a triangular head. They can turn their heads 180 degrees—an entire half circle. They're well-camouflaged, adapting colors that help them blend with plants. Some also have amazing body shapes that make them look like leaves or branches.

What plants do mantis like? ›

Praying mantis will be attracted to plants such as cosmos, marigolds, and dill. Plant these flowers and herbs and watch them flock. Plus, you will enjoy having these blooms in your yard as well!

Are mantis harmful? ›

Clearly, these insects are voracious predators, but can a praying mantis hurt a human? The short answer is, it's unlikely. Praying mantises have no venom and cannot sting. Nor do they carry any infectious diseases.

What plants are safe for praying mantis? ›

1. Grow plants that attract ladybugs, praying mantises and other predatory insects. Attractive plants include angelica, cosmos, yarrow, marigold, and raspberry canes. Beneficial insects also enjoy culinary herbs, such as dill, caraway and fennel.

Does a mantis bite? ›

They prefer insects, and their excellent eyesight makes it unlikely they'll mistake your finger for one. But bites can still happen. If you do get bitten by a praying mantis, simply wash your hands thoroughly. They're not venomous, so you'll be unharmed.

Do mantis fly? ›

The short answer is yes. However, this depends on the species, the stage of life, the gender, and the weight of the animal. Many species of praying mantis do not develop wings, while other species only develop small wings that are incapable of flight.

What do baby mantis eat? ›

Feeding. Young mantids should be fed on fruit flies (Drosophila sp.), aphids or other small insects. They do well if supplied with as much food as they can eat although they can last quite a while without food.

How fast is a praying mantis? ›

The fastest, 730 millimeters per second — or a little over one and a half miles per hour — mimicked a blow fly. He put eight different mantises through dozens of swings, filming each with a high-speed camera. He then analyzed the insects' recorded moves. The strike of a praying mantis has two phases.

Do praying mantis need water? ›

Praying mantises don't actually need to drink water, but it can be good to provide a small bowl of water anyway in the bottom of the cage. The water will help keep the air humid enough for the mantis. You can use a small bottle cap, for instance. Otherwise, lightly mist the cage once a day.

Do praying mantis need sunlight? ›

The plants inside the terrarium need some sunlight each day; however, direct sunlight will overheat the praying mantis and ladybugs. Instead, expose the terrarium to indirect sunlight each day for a short period of time to keep the plants alive. Mantises require live foods and won't eat dead insects.

How much do praying mantis eat? ›

Praying mantises are carnivorous hunters, and will exclusively eat on live prey. Their diet mostly exists of insects, but there are known cases of praying mantis feeding on small rodents, lizards, frogs, and even hummingbirds. An adult praying mantis eat up to 6 insects a day on average.

How long are praying mantis pregnant? ›

Praying mantis eggs hatch after three to six months; the young hang from their oothecae until their skins harden. These nymphs have incomplete metamorphosis, which means they look like tiny adults.

Can praying mantis vomit? ›

Mantis vomit when they have over eaten or eaten a dirty food item. Always aim to keep live food on clean substrate and gut loaded. Like us... when a mantis vomits they can get dehydrated so offer them some water via a dropper.

Can you eat praying mantis? ›

Praying mantis (fried over an open fire) = shrimp and raw mushrooms. French-fried ants = beef jerky. Fried spiders = nuts.

What is mantis favorite food? ›

Their foods of choice are usually other insects and include pests like aphids; pollinators like butterflies, flies, honeybees; and even other predators like spiders. However, they have also been known to grab vertebrates, including small amphibians, shrews, mice, snakes, and soft-shelled turtles.

Can praying mantis be pink? ›

Is there a pink praying mantis? There isn't really a pink praying mantis. One species called the California mantis (Stagmomantis californica) can occasionally come in pink or pastel hues, but this is a rare thing; its natural coloring is green, yellow and brown.

Are praying mantis good luck? ›

Seeing a praying mantis can be considered to be good luck or bad, depending on your culture. Because of the “praying” hands, some Christians say that the praying mantis represents spiritualism or piety, and if found in your home, may mean that angels are watching over you.

How big are praying mantis? ›

Adults generally range from 2 to 5 inches (5–12 cm) long. Adults and nymphs (immatures) are elongate and usually brown, green, or yellowish; a single species can have all 3 color phases, such as the California mantid, Stagmomantis wheeleri =S.

Can mantis eat ants? ›

The mantis can easily hunt ants without being threatened back due to their natural green color, as the mantis will easily camouflage in the grass. Ants are not the only thing a fully grown praying mantis will eat.

Do mantis eat mosquitoes? ›

Mantis have enormous appetites, eating various aphids, leafhoppers, mosquitoes, caterpillars and other soft-bodied insects when young. Later they will eat larger insects, beetles, grasshoppers, crickets, and other pest insects. These ferocious-looking praying mantises actually make great pets.

Do mantis eat cockroaches? ›

Other insects also eat cockroaches, although not in the same way as the emerald cockroach wasp. Praying mantises, certain types of beetles, and centipedes also prey upon cockroaches. Certain types of spiders, like the huntsman and brown recluse spiders, eat cockroaches, too.

Do mantis bites hurt? ›

Unless you happen to be an insect or a small amphibian, praying mantis are not dangerous. They aren't venomous and, though their bites may be a little painful, they won't cause any lasting harm. You are also highly unlikely to suffer any kind of allergic reaction from a praying mantis bite.

What color are praying mantis? ›

Carnivorous and camouflaged, the praying mantis gets its name for the way their front legs are bent in a “praying” motion. Most mantis species are colored green or brown so they can blend in with leaves and foliage which enables them to patiently stalk insects like flies and grasshoppers.

How does a praying mantis move? ›

The movement doesn't affect their bodies uniformly, though. Instead, the spin moves through their abdomen, front legs and hind legs like a wave, allowing them to divvy up angular momentum so that the whole body stays on target.

Do praying mantis have 5 eyes? ›

A praying mantis has 5 eyes! You would think two would be enough, but not for a hunter like this. Small eyes in the middle of the head are used for detecting light while the big compound eyes are for seeing movement and having depth vision.

Can praying mantis hear? ›

Scientists long thought that praying mantises were deaf, but now biologists know that the insects have a single ear that enables them to pick up sounds far beyond the range of human hearing. When sitting still to wait for prey, mantises often mimic leaves or twigs.

What is the meaning of a mantis? ›

: any of an order or suborder (Mantodea and especially family Mantidae) of large usually green insects that feed on other insects and clasp their prey in forelimbs held up as if in prayer.

What month do praying mantis lay eggs? ›

Praying mantises typically lay their eggs in late summer or fall, and the young develop within the ootheca over the winter months. The foamy case insulates the offspring from the cold and provides them with some protection from predators. Tiny mantis nymphs hatch from their eggs while still inside the egg case.

What time of year do praying mantis eggs hatch? ›

The eggs usually hatch in mid-June to early July. The 1/2-inch-long immature praying mantis nymphs resemble the adult, but they do not have wings. Colorless praying mantis nymphs emerge from the ootheca all at one time.

What happens to praying mantis in winter? ›

Many praying mantises die in the winter, but the eggs make it through and create all the new praying mantises each year. Some bugs hibernate through the winter by hiding in places under tree bark, fallen logs or stones. Since they are cold-blooded, these bugs go dormant in the winter and wake up in the spring.

Do praying mantis stay in one spot? ›

Their way of life strongly depends on its habitat and the species, but generally a praying mantis is a sit-and-wait predator. This means it will stay in one place and scan the environment for potential prey. When it spots its prey, some species will actively walk towards it to catch it.

How fast do mantis grow? ›

When buying a praying mantis nymph, it will take between 4 and 6 months to reach maturity and when adult is will live for another 3 to 8 months.

Can praying mantis bite? ›

Despite their small size, they may eat spiders, frogs, lizards, and small birds. Praying mantises aren't generally known to bite humans, but it is possible. They could do it by accident if they see your finger as prey, but like most animals, they know how to correctly identify their food.

Can a praying mantis hurt you? ›

Clearly, these insects are voracious predators, but can a praying mantis hurt a human? The short answer is, it's unlikely. Praying mantises have no venom and cannot sting.

What do baby mantis eat? ›

Feeding. Young mantids should be fed on fruit flies (Drosophila sp.), aphids or other small insects. They do well if supplied with as much food as they can eat although they can last quite a while without food.

Are praying mantis good luck? ›

Seeing a praying mantis can be considered to be good luck or bad, depending on your culture. Because of the “praying” hands, some Christians say that the praying mantis represents spiritualism or piety, and if found in your home, may mean that angels are watching over you.

Can praying mantis fly? ›

The short answer is yes. However, this depends on the species, the stage of life, the gender, and the weight of the animal. Many species of praying mantis do not develop wings, while other species only develop small wings that are incapable of flight.

Do praying mantis need water? ›

Praying mantises don't actually need to drink water, but it can be good to provide a small bowl of water anyway in the bottom of the cage. The water will help keep the air humid enough for the mantis. You can use a small bottle cap, for instance. Otherwise, lightly mist the cage once a day.

Do praying mantis eat plants? ›

Praying Mantis will only eat meat and won't consume any plants. However, they supplement their diet with pollen and the bees and flies that are attracted by it. Flowers, grass, and leaves of plants are camouflage for praying mantis, not food. Praying Mantis are quite beneficial to a garden.

Can two female mantis live together? ›

While some mantis will tolerate each other, this doesn't mean they like to cuddle together. All mantis are big on personal space. In an enclosure, two mantis will generally avoid each other if not fighting or mating. You'll want to ensure there is enough space to do that.

Can praying mantis jump? ›

They don't exactly leap tall buildings in a single bound, but praying mantises do have something akin to superpowers. Young mantises do not have wings, so evolution has bestowed them with the remarkable ability to leap from point A to point B in a tenth of a second—less than the blink of an eye.

Do praying mantis need sunlight? ›

The plants inside the terrarium need some sunlight each day; however, direct sunlight will overheat the praying mantis and ladybugs. Instead, expose the terrarium to indirect sunlight each day for a short period of time to keep the plants alive. Mantises require live foods and won't eat dead insects.

Videos

1. Praying Mantises! - Educational Video For Kids! | Space Dragon & Kim
(Shaftesbury Kids)
2. Praying Mantis | Life Cycle | Preschool | Science | Read Aloud | Story
(Butterfly Garden Preschool)
3. Life Cycle of A Mantis
(JaePeaTV)
4. The Praying Mantis Life Cycle : Praying Mantis Life Cycle
(eHow)
5. Surprising Praying Mantis Facts You Probably Didn't Know!
(Facts Net)
6. 11 Amazing Praying Mantis Facts You Didn't Know [Must Check Fact #3]
(Grow Kido)

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