The praying mantis is named for its prominent forelegs that are always bent and held together as the position of prayer. It is often mistakenly named ‘preying’ mantis, although this is also quite true! They are formidable predators of other insects, and even small animals such as lizards and hummingbirds!
The praying mantis has a total of five eyes: two large bulging compound eyes at the sides of the head, and three simple eyes located in the middle. It is also the only insect that can turn its triangular head nearly 180 degrees. These 2 adaptations has enabled it to scan its surroundings better than most other insects.
When hunting, the mantis will stalk prey by creeping up slowly to it, or they may wait for the prey to come within reach. Once it happens, the mantis strikes quickly and snares its prey with spiked forelegs. This can happen in 50 milliseconds – blink and you’ll miss it!