Praying mantis (insect)A praying mantis, or praying mantid, is a kind of insect, of the family Mantidae (order Dictyoptera), named for their "prayer-like" stance. (The word mantis in Greek means prophet.) There are approximately 2,000 species world-wide; most are tropical or subtropical. The most common species is Mantis religiosa.
Mantids are notable for their large size and nimble reflexes. Their diet, which consists exclusively of living insects, includes flies and aphids, which are caught and held securely with the grasping forelegs. Mantids make use of protective coloration to blend in with the foliage, both to avoid predators themselves, and to better snare their victims.