Thursday, January 8, 2009

Leaf Praying Mantis
This is bizarre looking variety of Leaf praying mantis. As it was photographed on rock that’s why you can identify some of its body parts or otherwise in bush it is totally camouflaged. Praying Mantis is carnivorous insect that belongs to the Order Dictyoptera. There are about 2,000 species of mantis. The biggest praying mantises are six inches long and the smallest praying mantis is only 2/5 of an inch, or one-centimeter. Their colors vary, ranging from light greens to pinks. Most mantises are pea green or brown. The tropical flower mantises, which resemble flowers, are usually light colors such as pink. Flower mantises, closely resemble flowers that insects will often land on them to get nectar. These 2 mantis are young and very much camouflaged in the dry leaves of Jamun Tree.
Camouflage is very important for the praying mantis' survival. Because they have so many enemies such as birds, they must blend in with their habitat to avoid being eaten. They have a triangular-shaped head with a large compound eye on each side. Praying mantis is the only insect that turn from side to side in a full 180-degree angle. Their eyes are sensitive to the slightest movement up to 60 feet away. They have straight, leathery forewings and very powerful jaws used for devouring its prey. They have a long prothorax and strong, spiny front legs held together in a praying manner.
The praying mantis is a carnivorous insect that takes up a deceptively humble posture when it is searching for food. When at rest, the mantis' front forelegs are held up together in a posture that looks like its praying. These front legs are equipped with rows of sharp spines used to grasp its prey. They wait unmoving and are almost invisible on a leaf or a stem, ready to catch any insect that passes. When potential prey comes close enough, the mantis thrusts its pincher-like forelegs forward to catch it. The prey probably won't escape because the forelegs are so strong and armed with overlapping spines. The mantis bites the neck of its prey to paralyze it and begins to devour it. The mantis almost always starts eating the insect while it's still alive, and almost always starts eating from the insect's neck. This way, the mantis makes sure that the insect's struggle stops quickly. Praying mantises eat insects and other invertebrates such as other mantises, beetles, butterflies, spiders, crickets, grasshoppers, and even spiders.
Yuwaraj Gurjar.

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