The Praying Mantis Life Cycle in Pictures

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Image: Ed Rascaille

A very stylish fellow

Out of all the creatures in the insect world, many people find the praying mantis the most fascinating. Perhaps it’s the distinctive pose – which gave these predators their name – standing still and silent with their forearms bent, as if in prayer. Or maybe it’s their reputation as ruthless predators, which seems so at odds with their ‘religious’ bearing. After all, there aren’t too many insects that have gained great notoriety for eating their mates after copulation.

Yet there’s even more to find intriguing about the praying mantis, as we’ll discover through these amazing pictures of its incredible, and sometimes quite bizarre, life cycle.


Image: Oliver Koemmerling

Mantis lurve…

When praying mantises come together to create a life, it can, for one parent at least, be a risky business (of which more later). It all starts in a seemingly normal fashion, however. First, the female praying mantis exudes a pheromone to let the males around her know she is ready to mate. Drawn in by the whiff of this enticing chemical, the male (which is usually smaller than the female) approaches – albeit cautiously.

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Image: Oliver Koemmerling

Je t’aime…

In some species, such as the Chinese praying mantis, the courtship ritual is elaborate. In these cases, the male leads the female in a special courtship ‘dance’ designed, perhaps, to get her in the mood for love – rather than for an easy meal.

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