SECTION 14 Basic mantis physiology

The head of the mantis is triangular shaped. The mantis can rotate the head at 180 degrees. Different species have several shapes, sizes and colors of antennae. Some species have narrow dark colored antennae while others may have feather like antennae in a wide range of colors such as white or pink! The size of the compound eyes will vary with each species. Mantids see best at a straight forward angle. Mantids can measure the distance between themselves and they prey they are approaching or sitting in wait to capture. The eye color of mantids will change in relation to the light in a room or outdoors. In good light, the eyes will turn a light color such as gold, clear, green or orange. The eyes may turn to black or dark red in areas where there is not enough light. This is to adjust the optical quality and also used to camouflage. Fully mature winged mantids have one ear on the lower side of the body. No other insect or animal has only one ear, only the mantis. Not all mantids have a hearing organ. The ear only seems to be present on fully mature winged mantids. The ear is used to detect bats which are predators to the mantis. Mantids in flight will suddenly crash flat to the ground to prevent being captured by a bat. The mantis has a long, very flexible neck used for both locating and overcoming prey. The mantis has two large raptorial legs. These have spikes on the insides used to hold prey insects still and also used to assist in disabling prey upon capturing by pinching or puncturing the prey insects exoskeleton. Some mantis species' have the ability to regenerate lost limbs while others do not. The segmented large abdomen of the mantis contains all of the vital internal organs. Some hobbyists count the segments on the abdomen to determine the sex of the specimen. This is not an accurate method unless the mantis is in the sub adult or adult growth phase. As nymphs, all mantids have 8 segments, it is only when the female matures, when two segments merge to one that the females have six segments. It is best to wait until the mantis is near adulthood to accurately determine the sex of the specimen in question. Some mantis species' develop wings in the final molt. In some species, only males have wings while other species' have no wings or very tiny flightless wings. Female mantids will rarely fly, males fly allot in search for female mantids in mating season.

1. Your first pet mantis
2. Handling your pet mantis
3. Outdoor and Indoor Mantids ~ Housing Mantids
4. Temperature, ventilation and humidity
5. Feeding mantids
6. Molts and growth
7. Breeding and ootheca (egg case) production
8. Ootheca Incubation ~ Hatching Mantis Eggs
9. Hazards and dangers to avoid when raising a pet mantis
10. Legal information ~ Mantis Species' ~ Legal U.S. Native / USDA Accepted Adventive Mantids vs. non native invasive illegal Foreign Mantids
11. Praying Mantis and Mantis Ootheca identification, Short list of U.S. Native Praying Mantis
12. Special techniques
13. History of the praying mantis in human culture
14. Basic mantis physiology
HOME ~ Return to the front cover page of the guide to raising U.S. Native Praying Mantis Insects