Praying Mantids get their common name from the stance they commonly adopt. The fore legs are raised as if in the act of prayer, the name mantis is also derived from the Greek word for prophet. Of course, the legs are actually raised so that they can be used to grasp any prey that strays close to the mantis.

They have voracious appetites and for this reason they are sometimes, incorrectly, called "Preying Mantids". Mantids will eat prey of a similar size to themselves and bigger species will eat vertebrates including mice, lizards and frogs.

A photograph of the Praying mantis _Empusa egena_ (previously _Empusa pennata_)

A photograph of the Praying mantis Empusa egena (previously Empusa pennata).
Photograph by Luis Nunes Alberto, used under GFDL

Other names for (or types of) Mantodea include:

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