The praying mantis (or mantid) is a long, slender insect that often sits in an upright position with its large front legs meekly folded beneath its bowed head as if it were saying its prayers.

But the mantid is not praying at all:  no, indeed!  It would be nearer the truth to call it a “Preying mantis,’ for the mantid is really preying.  This fearsome creature preys on other insects.

Hidden by its green color, the praying mantid sits motionless in wall among leaves with its body raised in its hunting position, ready to snap at the first insect that comes by.

When a fly, or other insect, wanders within striking range, the mantid reaches out its barbed, tap like front legs in a lightning attack and grabs its victim in a viselike grip.

The mantid is useful to man because it greedily devours mosquitoes, flies, and many other insect pests.

Some people imagine that the mantid’s upright posture suggests a fearing horse.  For this reason the mantid is sometimes called mantid is sometimes called a “rearhorse.” – Dick Rogers