Praying Mantids (Order Mantodea)

Praying mantids are often confused with stick insects (Order Phasmatodea) but they are very different. Mantids are strictly carnivores with specialised front legs for capturing prey. Stick insects are vegetarians with simple front legs.

Mantids are a small group of insects with around 200 Australian species. Many lurk among the leaves of bushes and trees, or in grasses on the ground. But even large species are often overlooked because they are masters of camouflage. Australia also has many species of small grey or black mantids that live on tree trunks.

Mantid eating a mothA large species of Hierodula from north Queensland eating a moth firmly grasped in its specialised front legs.

Mantid on a tree trunkSpecies of Gyromantis live on tree trunks.

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