article and photo by Rose Collison
Article and photo by Rose Collison
Praying Mantises are generally 2 to 3 inches long, but they may stretch up to a foot in length, depending on species. Their colors vary from light greens to pink. Most Mantids are pea green or brown. They have a triangular-shaped head with a large compound eye on each side. Praying mantids are the only insect that can turn their heads from side to side in a full 180-degree angle. Their eyes are sensitive to the slightest movement up to 60-feet away.
Praying mantises eat insects and other invertebrates like beetles, butterflies, spiders, crickets, grasshoppers and other mantises. They also eat vertebrates including small tree frogs, lizards, mice and hummingbirds.
Most often people think of mantises as pests. That is only partly true. Praying Mantises are terrific pest exterminators. They keep down the population of bugs that are a threat to farming. A master in disguise, the praying mantis can be an able assistant to both farmer and gardener.
After retiring from Stockbridge Community Schools, Rose Collison joined the board of Stockbridge Community News. She serves as volunteer photographer and manages the Where’s Waldo contest. She and husband Ken have lived in the area for a number of years.