Mantodea are better known as ‘praying mantids’ due to their folded forelimbs. In total there are some 2,428 species in 19 families.

Mantids are diurnal (daytime) predators, with males generally smaller than females.

Characteristics of mantids include:


Tegmina are leathery front wings that act as protection, camouflage and display. © Archaeodontosaurus

  •  small, triangular head with slender antennae
  • large, widely separated eyes
  • mandibulate mouthparts
  • if present they have fore wings that form leathery tegmina and membranous hind wings  
  • forelegs are raptorial, whereas the mid and hind legs are elongate for walking
  • ovipositor is predominantly internal and the external male genitalia are asymmetrical

About the name

Mantodea comes from Greek and means 'prophet shape', this refers to the forelimbs that resemble a person praying.