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Praying Mantis

A praying mantis, or praying mantid, is the common name for an insect of the order Mantodea. Often mistakenly spelled preying mantis (an eggcorn, since they are notoriously predatory), they are in fact named for the typical "prayer-like" stance. The word mantis derives from the Greek word mantis for prophet or fortune teller. The preferred pluralization is mantids, though there is some usage of mantes or mantises.


Like all insects, a praying mantis has a three- segmented body, with a head, thorax and abdomen. The abdomen is elongated and covered by the wings in adults.

Females have strong and large cerci. The first thoracic segment, the prothorax, is elongated and from it arises the modified foreleg.

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Taken on September 15, 2007