The insect order Mantodea or mantises consists of approximately 2,300 species worldwide in temperate and tropical habitats, of which a majority are in the family Mantidae. For most of the past century, only this single family was recognized within the order, and the term 'mantid' was therefore historically used for any member of the order; technically, however, the term only refers to this one family, meaning the species in the other eight recently-established families are not mantids, by definition (i.e., they are empusids, or hymenopodids, etc.), and the term 'mantises' (or the more colloquial 'praying mantises') should be used when referring to the entire order. 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. In Europe, the name 'praying mantis' refers to only a single species, Mantis religiosa. The closest relatives of mantises are the orders Isoptera (termites) and Blattodea (cockroaches), and these three groups together are sometimes ranked as an order rather than a superorder.
Mantises are notable for their hunting abilities. They are exclusively predatory, and their diet usually consists of living insects, including flies and aphids; larger species have been known to prey on small lizards, frogs, birds, snakes, and even rodents. Most mantises are ambush predators, waiting for prey to stray too near. The mantis then lashes out at remarkable speed. Some ground and bark species, however, pursue their prey rather quickly. Prey are caught and held securely with grasping, spiked forelegs ('raptorial legs'); the first thoracic segment, the prothorax, is commonly elongated and flexibly articulated, allowing for greater range of movement of the front limbs while the remainder of the body remains more or less immobile. The articulation of the head is also remarkably flexible, permitting nearly 300 degrees of movement in some species, allowing for a great range of vision (their compound eyes have a large binocular field of vision) without having to move the remainder of the body. As their hunting relies heavily on vision, they are primarily diurnal, but many species will fly at night, and can be commonly encountered at lights.
To protect our artists and provide a superior customer experience, TurboSquid offers a Quality Guarantee on all our models, textures, and other products. If a product is unsuitable for your project, you can contact our staff for assistance. For more details on our return policy, please review the link below or open a Support Ticket.