|[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note [French]|
|Like all insects, a praying mantis has a head atop the body, an abdomen housing vital organs at the other end and, in between, the thorax.|
The head of the praying mantis is triangularly shaped. The eyes of the mantis bulge large and round from the sides of the head. The large eyes of the praying mantis are made even more effective by the mantis’s ability to rotate the head 360 degrees.
The mouth of the praying mantis is made for chewing and biting. There is an upper and lower jaw as well as palps along the sides.
Sitting atop the head of the praying mantis are its two long antennae that are used for navigation.
The praying mantis is deaf to most sounds (those not ultrasonic) and there are no ears on the head (Yager and May).
The torso of the praying mantis, consisting of the thorax and abdomen, is much elongated in size. The thorax is very long and thin. The legs and wings connect to it.
According to Yager and May, the praying mantis has one single ear in the middle of the thorax on the underside. This single ear, which is a deep slit inside the thorax allows it to hear ultrasonic sounds.
The rear of the torso is covered by two sets of wings for flying. These wings lie one on top of the other and fan outwards during flight.
The praying mantis, like most insects, has six jointed legs. The rear four legs are the main walking legs of the praying mantis. These legs are longer than the front two. The front two legs are shorter and set in a “praying position.” These legs are lined with spines and end with sharp hooks for capturing and killing prey.
Praying mantises have the ability to adapt their color to their surroundings. This camouflage of earth tones, ranging from a dark brown to a bright green, allows the praying mantis to blend in and wait for its prey.
Praying mantises, with their huge compound eyes, can see extremely well. Sight is the only sense they use in hunting prey and for navigation.
Praying mantises are not born with the ability to fly. As nymphs, they do not have wings. However, after several molting periods, once they mature they are able to fly. Gravid females cannot fly because of the added weight of developing eggs.
Praying mantises can be found in all parts of the world that are not snow covered for a majority of the year. Praying mantises enjoy living in areas filled with plant life because their camouflage is most effective here and other insects (prey) dwell in these surroundings as well. Praying mantises will spend most of their time in a garden, in the forest, or in another vegetated area.
Being a carnivorous insect, the praying mantis feeds primarily on other insects such as flies, butterflies, crickets, moths and spiders. However, it is not uncommon for larger mantises to consume small reptiles and even small mammals or birds
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