Praying mantis

Praying mantis

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Credit: VAUGHAN FLEMING/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Close-up of the head and front legs of a female mantis, Sphodromantis gastrica, from Lagos, Nigeria. The mantis is a daytime hunter, with a voracious & indiscriminate appetite for insects, lizards, frogs and even small birds. In some countries (eg. USA) this aspect is exploited & the mantis bred as a biological pest control organism. The mantis (meaning soothsayer or prophet) adopts its familiar praying stance when waiting to make a kill. The prehensile forelegs that effect this stance extend & retract rapidly, in the act of grasping prey. The prey is then held between tibia and femur, where the rows of spines prevent its escape.

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Keywords: animal, compound eye, head, insect, insecta, invertebrate, invertebrates, jointed legs, mantis, nature, sphodromantis, sphodromantis gastrica, type, wildlife, zoology

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