1) The praying mantis belongs to the order Mantodea. Or as I prefer, the preying mantis.
2) They have an auditory organ on the thorax that detects a bats ecolocation allowing them to respond evasively and avoid capture.
3) The preying mantis is exclusively predatory. It preys mostly on insects and any other species small enough to be successfully captured and devoured. This includes: small scorpions, lizards, frogs, birds, snakes, fish and even rodents.
4) Mating among mantids is complicated. And yes, I'm talking about sexual cannibalism, which is not that uncommon in nature. Being eaten by the female after/during copulation delivers vitamins and proteins to the future offspring and the male gets to pass on his genes*high 5*. However, in nature, this kind of cannibalistic mating in mantodea occurs less than 30% of the time. After a highly ritualized courtship display and dance, the majority of the males manage to simply
Sexual cannibalism is more frequent under the stress of laboratory conditions where the males cannot escape, and/or if the female is hungry. But eating the head does cause the male to ejaculate faster (please don't ask me how they figured that out. :/ )
The preying mantis is my second most favorite insect. So please, if you find one out and about, leave it alone. If it's in an unsafe place, you can pick it up and place it elsewhere without fear of getting your hands bitten off. I've handled them many times, even the hungry females, lol.
Below is a short description from my wip (~ 200 words, feel free to skip the wip.) The creature described was inspired by the preying mantis and cockroach. Please remember this is in rough draft form. It will go through many more edits in the not so distant future. Enjoy.
“Charlie, please put me down. I’m hot and uncomfortable and my arms are starting to hurt. I promise I’ll come back and visit you tomorrow.” My voice was slightly patronizing but I was sincere. Much to my surprise, I was lowered gently to the ground. The green tentacles unraveled themselves from my arms and torso as Riona pushed through the vegetation to reach me.
“Well, that certainly didn’t go off as well as I planned. Are you alright?”
“I’m fine,” I reassured her, rubbing the soreness out of my elbows and sides.
“Charlie come down here and apologize,” Riona ordered, looking back up into the canopy.
I turned around. From the top of one of the giant plants, an odd looking creature came scurrying down. It had the legs of a praying mantis and a large, flattened, oval body. It was covered with large waxy green and black leaves that resembled the scales of a reptile. Four lesser green vines came out of what looked like the top of its head, each vine was several feet long and moved independently like antennae of a cockroach. Its head consisted of several fused, broad shaped leaves without obvious eyes or mouth. My body tensed as it drew near. When it reached arm's lenght, the leaves of its head shifted and folded like origami, taking on the form of a human's head. It suddenly resembled mine.
Interesting how aliens depected on tv resemble the head of a mantis....coincidence? I think not!
Enjoy your weekend!