Praying mantises: Order Mantodea

Stick insects and praying mantids were once treated as orthopterans (with grasshoppers, locusts, crickets and katydids) but are now in their own orders - Phasmatodea and Mantodea respectively. About 80% of Australian mantids belong to the Family Mantidae.

Praying mantis

Praying mantis
Creator: Andrew Howells © Australian Museum

These insects are best known for their remarkable camouflage throughout various stages of their life cycle. Many adults resemble sticks, twigs or leaves, their eggs could be mistaken for seeds, and juveniles often mimic ants.

There are about 118 species of praying mantids in Australia, and many of these are found in the tropics.

Features of praying mantids

  • Praying mantids are carnivores with powerful chewing mouthparts.
  • They have a triangle-shaped head.
  • They are usually solitary animals.
  • They are usually green or brown, resembling sticks, twigs or leaves.
  • Females are usually larger than males.

For enquiries relating to these insects in the Australian Museum collection please contact the Collection Manager

Dr David Britton , Head, Natural Sciences & Biodiversity Conservation
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Tags mantids, mantises, orthoptera, insects, insecta, arthropoda, arthropods, identifying, identification,