DENNIS KUNKEL MICROSCOPY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DENNIS KUNKEL MICROSCOPY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of Praying mantis head, Mantis religiosa. This mantis is native to temperate areas of Europe, Asia and northern Africa. It spread around the world and is now well established across the United States and into Canada. Outside of Europe it is known as the European mantis; in Europe, it is known simply as the preying mantis. Although a carnivore and an impressive predator, this mantis is completely harmless to humans and a beneficial species in that it eats many harmful insects, including the gypsy moth caterpillar, many aphids, flies, mites, grasshoppers and, when an individual comes upon another mantis, will show cannibalistic behaviour. Mantises are solitary insects, coming together to mate only once a year. Females are known to eat the males after mating. Females lay about 100 eggs in a white hardened foam ootheca (egg case) which they cement to a tree branch or leaf. Magnification: x19 when shortest axis.
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