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The Life Cycle of The Praying Mantis With Photos

Living on a farm in Brazil, I've gained local in-depth knowledge of food, plants, and traditions, which I share through my articles.

Excellent camouflage of the Praying Mantis

Excellent camouflage of the Praying Mantis

The Life Cycle of the Praying Mantis

The praying mantis is almost alien looking with its triangular head and its thin body. The truth is, it's a deadly killing machine and one of a gardener's greatest ally in the search for natural pest control.

To look at them they look fragile with their delicate legs and their paper-thin wings tucked neatly down. All of the photos here were taken just outside our door on our patio area, where we have been lucky enough to witness, the life cycle of the praying mantis.

Here in Brazil, where I live, we see many different types and encourage them wherever possible.

Many a morning we find them perched around our outside dining table. We leave a light at night and this attracts insects. This makes the perfect hunting ground for not only the praying mantis but also, toads, bats, and owls.

Praying Manits Camouflage

The camouflage of the praying mantis can be very good as you can see in the photo above. If this was perched near dying vegetation, you would be hard pressed to see it.

The camouflage is used to hide them from a predator and also to conceal them from their prey to enable them to get within striking distance.

Still, others we have seen here have long slender bodies which, when on the stalk of a plant, help them to disappear. Some almost seem to be a cross between a praying mantis and a stick insect, they can be so thin and long.

As I have mentioned we often see them in our patio area, where they are attracted to the easy meal due to the light being left on at night.

We also have spotted them on the sides of coconut trees, in long grass, and even over the water on reeds (cattails). Their ability to fly ensures they capitalize on a wide hunting area.

Carnivorous Praying Mantis

Carnivorous Praying Mantis

Carnivorous Mantises

Let there be no mistake, these beautiful delicate creatures are carnivores. They are even cannibals as they will eat their own species as well. Often after copulation, the female will eat the male.

The picture above is one I took in the morning on the doorstep rug of a mantis eating an insect. Sadly, my 45kg dog trod on this and killed it, the mat was where he sleeps.

Normally when we see mantises we place them on one of the palms on the patio where they can either fly from or choose to remain and hunt for food. This is where the following photos were taken.

Praying mantis eating a grasshopper

Praying mantis eating a grasshopper

Praying mantis eating another praying mantis

Praying mantis eating another praying mantis

Praying Mantis Laying Egg Sac

Praying mantis laying ootheca

Praying mantis laying ootheca

Praying Mantis Nymphs

The picture above is of a mantis laying an egg sac after we placed her on the palm tree. The egg sac is called an ootheca. As you can see this is the second egg sac which has been laid on the same palm. When the egg comes out it is quite soft and if you look closely you can still see it looks foamy. She stayed there until it hardened off.

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Then we watched and waited until it hatched. It was only by sheer luck that we happened to be in the right place at the right time. Here the weather is always warm so they hatch quite quickly.

As the young ones emerged they were then on their own. At this time they could be prey for spiders, birds, or other mantises.

The young nymphs scuttled off to make their way in the world.

Ootheca hatching

Ootheca hatching

Best Natural Pest Control

The praying mantis is a wonderful addition to your garden and a great way to keep the pests down. They will however eat virtually all insects, even some of the beneficial ones such as spiders.

That said, if you don't have any that you have seen, it could be worth introducing them into your garden.

Fun Facts About the Praying Mantis

The praying mantis can turn its head 180°,

Some larger praying mantis will catch lizards,frogs and small birds.

People keep them as pets

It grabs its prey with its front legs and the spines on its legs hold it securely in place while it is being eaten alive.

Each ootheca (egg case ) can have between 40-400 nymphs depending on the type.

The female will often eat the male after sex.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2014 Mary Wickison

Any thoughts on praying mantises?

Mary Wickison (author) from USA on October 25, 2019:

It was white because it was molting. It will revert to either green or brown.

dj on October 25, 2019:

I saw a white Praying Mantis at the end of the summer this year. Didn't know they could be that color. Is there a difference in color between the male and female?

Mary Wickison (author) from USA on September 21, 2019:

I'm so glad you enjoyed it. They are fascinating creatures. I often wonder about how much we miss seeing because we don't stop and observe.

I hope Buddy will be around longer for more pictures.

Mcg-28715 on September 21, 2019:

I had watched 1 grow from a tiny thing to full grown now over this summer, Its very green, long slender body. It had made itself quite comfy on the green & purple coleus wich is a perfect place to camouflage. (Buddy) has become very popular in pictures sent to family and friends. Just a couple days ago I was out in the yard watering the blueberry Bush and spotted a hair bit smaller one that looks just like Buddy hanging in their upside down position. Well this morning I found the newcomer in the same flower bed as Buddy and only about a foot and a half away from him/ her.... I’m constantly going outside to see what’s happening next. I really hope it’s a female or male whichever needs to be to have egg sacks layer. I certainly don’t want to loose either one especially “Buddy “ we have grown very fond of. But... as the world turns, what must be- must be. I’ve enjoyed your pictures so very much and reading about your experience of these strange but so very interesting creatures . Thank you for sharing

Mary Wickison (author) from USA on March 18, 2018:

They are amazing creatures. You're right, they have an unusual look to them, and I'm sure in the future, we will begin to learn that insects are more intelligent than we think.

We were lucky to get those pictures but staying alert to what's around us on a daily basis helps us notice more.

Glad you liked them.

Nell Rose from England on March 18, 2018:

Amazing photos, and how interesting! I love the Praying Mantis, it always looks like a little alien creature to me!

Mary Wickison (author) from USA on July 24, 2015:

Hello Integrater,

We were lucky to notice this happening and had the camera close at hand. Nature is always fascinating and I think there is still so much that we don't know about it.

Good luck with your search, although not always easy to see, they are very interesting creatures.

Thanks for your visit.

Certified Noob on July 24, 2015:

Brilliant pictures, especially laying and hatching of ootheca. A nice introduction to Praying Mantis. The only manits I knew about was Master Mantis from Kung Fu Panda!! But your hub has piqued my interest in this very peculiar insect . Will try to find one where I live. Thank you for an interesting hub.


Mary Wickison (author) from USA on June 12, 2015:

Hi Dave,

You're right, we notice a similar thing here in Brazil. Some years there seems to be an abundance and other years not.

We do get walking sticks here but haven't seen one lately.

Great to hear from you, thanks for your visit.

Dave on June 12, 2015:

Some years it seems like you see more insects then other years. This year we saw a lot of lady btelees, praying mantis, and those black and orange striped caterpillars. I've never seen a walking stick.

Mary Wickison (author) from USA on November 16, 2014:

Hi Chef-de-jour,

They are interesting creatures and we are lucky to have had them so close to us. Some of the wildlife here in Brazil is more interesting than TV.

Glad you enjoyed the article, thanks for the the votes and the share.

Andrew Spacey from Sheffield, UK on November 16, 2014:

What a thoroughly enjoyable article, thank you. I'm fascinated by the praying mantis, always have been. It's the way they pose as ministers of some god, praying for the opportunity to a fellow mantis for example!

I think I saw a mantis on a documentary recently, would that be the Orchid mantis? A superbly crafted specimen but deadly when it came to meals and reproduction.

Votes for the mantis, and a share.

Mary Wickison (author) from USA on June 25, 2014:

Hi Teaches,

Some of the ones we have here are fascinating but I too wouldn't want one as a pet. There is no way I am going to go out and catch bugs to feed one.

Pleased you enjoyed it.

Thanks for stopping by.

Dianna Mendez on June 25, 2014:

Your photos are outstanding and really add to the content value. Thanks for the education on this insect. I'm not sure I would want one for a pet though.

Mary Wickison (author) from USA on June 20, 2014:

I am glad to hear it, I think nature has its own checks and balance systems.

Mel Carriere from Snowbound and down in Northern Colorado on June 19, 2014:

Fancy running into you here. I give the mantises free rein in my California yard as well, and even my wife who was freaked out by them at first has grown fond of these insects. Great hub!

Mary Wickison (author) from USA on June 13, 2014:

Hello Grand Old Lady,

I was surprised by how graphic that video was. I was amazed at the way the mouth of it opened to eat, it wasn't how I thought. The insect world is a cruel place.

They are there in the Philippines, just keep a sharp look-out for them.

Good luck in your search and thanks for stopping by.

Mona Sabalones Gonzalez from Philippines on June 13, 2014:

Wow, these praying mantis sure are deceiving. They look fragile and seem to pray but they prey and they are unrelenting. The video of the praying mantis eating the bee was so sad. Well, come to think of it, as long as they don't bother humans, they are okay. Especially if you hate insects and bees. Gotta find some of these fragile looking monsters for my garden.

Mary Wickison (author) from USA on June 13, 2014:

Hi Long Time Mother,

Thanks for the reminder, I will do it now. I am glad you enjoyed it, thanks for sharing and the vote.

LongTimeMother from Australia on June 13, 2014:

Your photos are brilliant, Blond Logic. I suggest you clearly state your copyright on each photo because they'll probably travel far and wide. :)

I enjoyed this hub immensely. Voted up and shared.

Mary Wickison (author) from USA on June 13, 2014:

Hi Goodnews11,

Glad you thought so, thank you for the vote.

OSBERT JOEL C from CHENNAI on June 13, 2014:

Informative article!.Voted up!

Nell Rose from England on June 12, 2014:

Hiya, I think most females would love to do to men what the praying mantis does! lol! and do you know I never knew they could fly? not that we get them over here, but its not something I thought of! Great hub blond logic, and I learned something new! voted up and shared, nell

Mary Wickison (author) from USA on June 11, 2014:

Hello Ms. Dora,

Thank you for the votes, I am glad you enjoyed it. For me these are easy to photograph as they tend to wait for me to get everything ready.

As always, wonderful to hear from you.

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on June 11, 2014:

Voted Up and More. This is an awesome presentation--both facts and pictures. I enjoy your work.

Mary Wickison (author) from USA on June 11, 2014:

Hi Alphadogg,

I think they have them in Texas. Remember they are very good at concealing themselves, perhaps that is why you haven't seen them.

Thanks for the visit, have a great day up there in Texas.

Kevin W from Texas on June 11, 2014:

This was a very interesting & informative hub on the Preying Mantis, I learned a lot about them from this article. I'm not sure if they're are anywhere I live as I haven't seen any or maybe I haven't paid close enough attention. Thumbs up on your hub Blond Logic.

Mary Wickison (author) from USA on June 11, 2014:

We are lucky to have the opportunity to see all of these things. I often wonder just how much we miss by not taking the time to slow down and observe.

Thanks for your pin, tweet and votes.

Faith Reaper from southern USA on June 10, 2014:

Fascinating hub here! I am not sure if I have ever seen one here where we live, but now I know what to look out for when I do see one. Your photos are phenomenal. I learned a lot here.

Up and more, pinning and tweeting

Mary Wickison (author) from USA on June 10, 2014:

Hi Mackyi,

The photos were taken about 10 feet from our door. Plus I have an older Canon Powershot. I think it is about a 8 year old camera. I use a super macro setting.

Glad you enjoyed it.

Thanks for reading.

mackyi on June 10, 2014:

Very interesting hub about a very interesting insect! Thanks a lot. However, my question is, how did you manage to capture so much of its life's events so closeup?

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