1. Did you know that most of the about 2,000 species' of mantids worldwide are found in Asia?
2. There are about 20 U.S. native mantids. Two species, the Chinese Mantis and European Mantis, were purposely introduced to control pests in farms and gardens.
3. There are some “illegal” mantids that carry restrictions in the U.S. They are the spiny flower mantis, orchid mantis, wondering violin mantis, ghost mantis, devils flower mantis, and the Egyptian mantis among others. These species became restricted under the Non Native Invasive Species Act of 1992. All that for an insect!
4. The praying mantis has excellent eyesight and can see up to about 50 feet away. Their eyes are made up of tiny compounds.
5. It is believed that the female mantis will eat the male after mating since the protein helps in egg development. How’s that for male sacrifice?
6. The praying mantis is the only insect that can rotate its alien-like head almost completely around! House flies can tilt their head slightly but not to this degree. This flexibility helps with their hunting.
7. The praying mantis is actually more closely related to the cockroach than to grasshoppers!
8. The Mantodea Species File (MSF) is a taxonomic database that is still under development and has goals to refine its table of classification for over 2400 mantis species (Order Mantodea) and provide more images of living and fossil species!
9. A State Insect? Yes, it is true. The European Mantis (mantis religiosa), a native of Southern Europe became the official State Insect of Connecticut on October 1st, 1977!
10. Hottentotsgot is the word used for mantis in a Southern African ethnic group called Khoi, which literally means god of Khoi.
11. North American Mantids are not actually on the endangered species list.
12. One mantis species in Spain, Apteromantis aptera, is actually considered as endangered.
13. Need to get tougher? Just act like an ant! Since ants are some of the baddest insects on the planet and maybe the worst tasting, many have come to imitate their looks and aggression, (known as ant mimicry) including flower and ghost mantids, in order to protect themselves from insect predators who rely on sight.
14. The earliest fossils of the praying mantis are from Oligocene, a geologic epoch dating around 23 to 34 million years ago.
15. Mantids are often mistaken for giant stick insects, even though it is quite easy to tell them apart. Stick insects lack the mobile head and spiked forelegs. Also, they are herbivores, while mantids are obviously strictly carnivorous.
16. The word "mantis" comes from the Greek word meaning prophet.
17. Mantis was a character in African folklore. He was a Bushman who would dream up solutions to his problems in his sleep.
18. In most mantids there is one ear in a form of a small slit near the legs and has two eardrums and tuned to25-60 kHz, which allows them to hear the ultrasonic sounds of bats as they near so they can dodge them quickly.
19. In Turkish and Arab cultures, the praying mantis is considered to be pointing to their religious center, Mecca.
20. In French culture, the praying mantis can supposedly guide a lost child home.
21. In China, roasted praying mantis eggs were eaten to treat bedwetting!
22. The word praying mantis is often spelled preying mantis and is googled this way almost as often as the correct spelling. Preying Mantis is in essence of the character of the insect and correctly describes its predatory nature.
23. Southern Praying Mantis is a form of a kung fu praying mantis style that originated with the Hakka people who migrated to Southern China and settled into the Punti communities.
24. Praying mantis eggs can be sold online and is popular among farmers who purchase them to control pests. Live praying mantises can also be sold, packaged as 'live insect'. I know of someone who has ordered adult African Mantises via this type of shipping a few years ago, but I don't know what the new regulations of this risky shipping are these days.