Praying Mantis


This is one insect that can scare the wits out of you once encountered in your home or garden.

Because of its prayer like posture with folded spiked fore-limbs, this insect was dubbed the Praying Mantis. It adopts a raptor stance and can strike its prey with lightning speed. Thereafter, it slowly devours its prey alive with big and sharp mandibles.

Many people relate the mantis with grasshoppers, crickets and katydids because of its elongated body. It has a long neck with large protruding oval eyes that are similar to that of an extra terrestrial alien.


Generally, mantises are harmless insects. Scientifically, the mantis belong to the same species of cockroaches and termites. It also has two sets of wings that enable it to fly short distances. Female mantises are bigger and heavier than males and rarely flies. They prefer to remain stationary while in search of their prey or mate. Yes, these insects are ambush predators and are very stealthy. They stalk with caution towards their intended prey.

Here in the Philippines, mantises can grow up to 4 inches long. We call it the Giant Philippine Mantis. Common mantises found in gardens are only centimeters long. Due to their enormous size, the Philippine mantis can feed on beetles, lizards, frogs, scorpions, small snakes and birds. They come in colors of green and brown.

In some countries you may find pink and black ones. There is this local notion that bitten by a mantis will stunt ones growth. Of course there is no truth to that.

When threatened, a mantis would stand erect and spread and fan out its big wings to ward off its enemies. No wonder they can look scary and dangerous. They are, however, non-venomous.

In China, mantises represent bravery and courage. They are cultured and bred and are given to farmers to watch over their crops. The mantis is one of the best biological pest controllers. Despite their seemingly aggressive nature, mantises must not be feared. They are our natural pest irradiators. But there is something unusual about female mantises not common with female animals. They are cannibalistic by nature. Even while the sexual intercourse is in progress, the female will start to devour its mate starting with its head. The decapitated mate on the other hand, will vigorously continue to mate until he successfully delivers his sperm. I’ll be damned! And once consumated she will start to devour her still moving and active mate in all his entirety. Wow! Can you imagine that kind of sexual encounter of the mantis kind? That’s what you may call a self-centered and an extremely ungrateful female coupled to a determined and over- sexed headless male!

After going to all that courtship dance, the poor guy ends up as an appetizing after sex meal. Yummy! Hehehe! As to why they do it still baffles many entomologists.

In human parlance and drama that’s what we call FATAL ATTRACTION or should I aptly say FATAL DESTRUCTION!?

Sounds familiar girls?

No offense gents!

[Originally published at rated 4/5 Star]


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