Praying Mantis

Latest Update 19th January 2015.

Praying Mantis. 
  • Preying mantis or Mantis religiosa belongs to the Mantodea order of insects containing more than 2000 species and over 400 genera.
  • They live mainly in temperate and tropical regions of the world including in my garden in Australia.
  • Organic gardeners encourage mantises as a form of biological pest control. 
  • During autumn in temperate regions, a mantis female typically deposits her eggs underneath a leaf.  If the egg cases survives winter, the nymphs emerge in late spring or early summer. 
  • They have voracious appetites and often cannibalise each other if they can't find an adequate supply of aphids or other small insects.  They will eat anything they can successfully capture and devour.
  • Most mantises are exclusively predatory.  Insects are their main prey, but the diet of a mantis changes as it grows larger.  They feed on any species small enough for them to capture, but large enough to engage their attention.
  • When the female mantis is into her final growth spurt and is accumulating nutrients to make eggs, she will feed on the largest available prey she can manage. 
  • The majority of mantises are ambush predators.  They camouflage themselves and spend long periods standing perfectly still.  They wait for their prey to stray within reach, and then lash out with remarkable speed.
  • A mantis catches prey by grasping them with spiked forelegs.  They then eat their prey alive, often head first.
In my Garden.
  • Preying mantis are an occasional visitor to my garden, and seem to visit plants being attacked by harlequin beetles.  Harlequin beetles were a bit of a pest last year, and I am hoping the mantis will predate on the juvenile beetles later this year  
Information from.