highly camouflaged - the better to snag a meal
Praying mantises (or mantids, Order: Mantodea) are a diverse group of carnivorous insects. They are found all over the world, especially in the tropics.
Mantises are characterized by their triangle-shaped heads, large eyes, long “necks” and raptorial (grasping) front legs. They have very acute vision and are the only insects able to turn their heads nearly 300 degrees! This makes them very efficient predators. They use the sit and wait method, their camouflage hiding them from potential victims. When an unwary insect gets too close, it is quickly snagged by those grasping front legs.
Most mantises are highly camouflaged, some spectacularly so. The beautiful orchid mantis, for example, comes in pink or white and looks almost exactly like an orchid petal.
We have several different species on display:
Dead Leaf Mantis
Malaysian Shield Mantis
Giant Asian Mantis