European mantis (Mantis religiosa)

Mantis religiosa
Green adult European mantis in the district of Santarém, Portugal

The European mantis (Mantis religiosa) is a carnivorous, slow moving insect in the mantid family that is widely distributed and can be found throughout most of Europe, Africa, Asia, and as far as North America. It is protected by national law in Poland and Germany.

These are large insects, greater than 7 cm (3 in) long when full grown, and come in either green or brown forms. Green mantises hide in green foliage, waiting for prey to wander into range; brown mantises do the same thing, only on brown foliage and stems.

The insect has a pair of compound eyes that are made up of thousands of miniature eyes in some cases, and just a single ear, located on the underside of its belly, just forward of its hind legs.


Mantis religiosa
Brown adult European mantis on my hand in the district of Santarém, Portugal

Conehead mantis (Empusa pennata)

Mantis religiosa
Brown adult European mantis on my finger in the district of Santarém, Portugal

Mantis religiosa
Green adult European mantis on my fingers in the district of Santarém, Portugal

The European mantis is a totally harmless insect and is very beneficial as it eats destructive insects that attack crops, food, livestock, etc. Its average life span is 1 year.

Have ever seen a European mantis? Feel free to post a comment below.

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