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The Praying Predator

Photo By Linda May, GA DNRStory & Photo by Linda May, GA DNR

The praying mantis is a fierce predator, one whose name is often misspelled as “preying” mantis.  This well-camouflaged insect waits in a prayer-like stance for an unsuspecting bug, small lizard or even a hummingbird to approach.

As one of only a few insects that can move its head, the praying mantis can keep a close eye on its prey while its body stays still. Then, armed with spikes on its forelegs, it captures victims in one quick swoop.

In the fall, after each female lays hundreds of eggs, all adult mantids die. However, more return every spring when the eggs hatch.

WILD Facts is a regular feature written by Linda May, a wildlife interpretive specialist with the Georgia DNR Wildlife Resources Division.

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