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Praying Mantids are predatory insects that live in warm areas. Mantids undergo simple (incomplete) metamorphosis; during early life stages, they look like small, wingless adults.

Diet: Praying Mantids eat flies, aphids, moths, butterflies, and many other insects (including other mantids). They catch their prey with their strong, barbed front legs. Praying Mantids are useful in gardens, since they control the insect population. They will only eat live insects.

Anatomy: Praying Mantids are green or tan, camouflaging them among plants. Like all insects, they have 6 jointed legs, a three part body (head, thorax, and abdomen), 2 antennae, large compound eyes, and a hard exoskeleton. Mantids can rotate their triangular-shaped head in almost a full circle. Praying Mantids have a flexible, elongated prothorax that looks like a neck and increases their head mobility. Most adult mantids are from 2 to 6 inches (5-15 cm) long. Females are larger than the males.

Predators: Praying Mantids are eaten by bats, birds and wasps.

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