'Sup. I'm a Mantodea. You may know me better by my other name, Mantis.
It’s cool. I’ll explain.
In the 1800’s - 1838 actually - Hermann Burmeister (a German entomologist) coined this awesome name through the word mantodea, courtesy of the Ancient Greek words μάντις and εἶδος or “mantis" (meaning "prophet") and "type”…sh’yeah…pretty damn cool, right?
Let me tell you how cool this actually is.
There’s about 2,400 species of us and around 430 genera amidst 15 different families around this planet. Although most of us are in the family Mantidae, we have a large family…
OH yeah. We’re a pretty big deal.
Our relatives, the termites and cockroaches…Blattodea, man…they have survival instincts like you wouldn’t believe. Hardly has to do with their instincts, however; it comes down to their anatomy and cellular cycles.
Let me just come out and say it…my body is pretty dope. I mean, look at these legs…
…that’s what you call a raptorial appendage. Why? Because when we got you, we GOT YOU. “Raptorial” is usually used to describe the talons on “birds of prey.” I told you, this is serious.
You may be familiar with this predatory mechanism in our pals the Mantis Shrimp:
Yeah. They’re pretty dope too. You can learn more about them HERE.
So. We’re small. I get that. But our visual acuity is RIDICULOUS.
Our compound eyes are comprised of up to 10,000 photon receptor cells in a cluster called an ommatidium, which are laterally spaced, providing us a long-range binocular field of vision (up to 20 metres, my friend), and precision stereoscopic vision up close. Way close.
Not familiar with these vision types? Peep the below example of an owl vs a pigeon…
Yeah. Humans? Pshh. Monocular vision. How’s that going to help you when you have a hawk approaching you from above? Well. I guess you don’t have to worry about that….but we do! And our vision is boss.
Speaking of predators, we don’t usually encounter many, because most of us hunt by night. However, bats are a thing, and because of their precision hunting skills, we have a better thing: an auditory thoracic organ…
WE CAN EVADE BATS BECAUSE WE CAN DETECT THEIR ECHOLOCATION.
Listen, I have to go, it’s getting dark soon and I don’t want to be late again for the frog ambush tonight.
If you want to learn more about our anatomy, diet, predatory behavior, wicked awesome defensive strategies via camouflage, or the slimy details of our reproductive history - like sexual cannabalism, if you’re into that sort of thing - Wikipedia has plenty for you to browse through.
You can watch this epic video of one of my bros, the documentary MANTIS (which is super thorough and dispels some myths about us you may want to tune in for), and most definitely, watch “True Facts About The Mantis.”
Oh, and don’t call us “praying" mantises anymore, ok? That’s not a thing. It’s insulting to our evolutionary lineage. And if you call us that to our faces, you may be the one praying you hadn’t.
Stay curious, humanoids.