Do Praying Mantis Eat Spiders? Uncovering the Insect World’s Predators

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Praying mantids are captivating creatures often seen resting with their forelegs folded, resembling a praying position. As voracious predators, they are known to consume a variety of insects, but do they eat spiders? Let’s explore the answer.

These fascinating insects possess a skillful ability to ambush their prey with lightning-fast movements. In fact, praying mantids have been observed eating other small prey such as insects and even small vertebrates. It turns out spiders are not off the dining menu for these predatory insects. Their diet is indeed diverse, which enables them to play a beneficial role in controlling unwanted garden pests.

However, it is essential to note that praying mantids are nondiscriminatory hunters. They will also consume beneficial insects and pollinators like bees and butterflies. So, while praying mantids do eat spiders, their overall impact on the ecosystem should be considered when evaluating their presence in a garden or natural environment.

Praying Mantis and Their Diet

Carnivorous Nature

Praying mantids are efficient and deadly predators that primarily follow a carnivorous diet. They use their specialized front legs known as raptorial legs to grasp prey, and their quick reflexes allow them to strike with precision. Examples of their carnivorous habits include:

  • Attacking insects and other small prey.
  • Capturing prey items like flies, grasshoppers, and crickets.

Common Prey

Praying mantids target a wide variety of insects and other small animals. Their common prey items consist of:

  • Flies
  • Crickets
  • Grasshoppers

While praying mantids mostly focus on insects, for example, they have also been known to eat small vertebrates on rare occasions.

Nutritional Requirements

As carnivores, praying mantids require nutrients that are found within their prey items. Some key nutrients they obtain from their diet include:

  • Proteins
  • Fats
  • Vitamins

Compiling a comparison table:

Nutrient Prey Source
Proteins Insects
Fats Small animals
Vitamins Insects

Praying mantids must consume these essential nutrients to maintain their health and fitness. Additionally, due to their diverse diet, they can attain various nutrients from different types of prey.

Hunting Techniques

Camouflage and Ambush

Praying mantises are experts in hunting and use camouflage as one of their primary tactics. They possess an innate ability to blend in with their surroundings, making them nearly invisible to their prey. Their disguises resemble leaves and sticks, making them perfect for hunting in garden environments1. Additionally, they are ambush predators, patiently waiting for their prey to come close enough before striking2.

Speed and Agility

Mantises also rely on their speed and agility when hunting. Their large compound eyes contain 10,000 light receptors in each, providing them with excellent eyesight to detect their prey3. Not only can they turn their heads 180 degrees to spot prey4, but they can also strike out and capture it in a fraction of a second2. This combination of speed and agility makes them fearsome hunters.

Raptorial Forelegs

Another crucial aspect of their hunting technique is their specialized raptorial forelegs5. They use these forelegs, adorned with long sharp spines on their upper insides, to secure their prey and hold on to it2. These legs are so effective that praying mantises are known to catch insects, spiders, frogs, lizards, and even small birds4.

Comparison Table

Hunting Technique Features Pros Cons
Camouflage Resembles leaves/sticks Efficient in garden environments Less effective in open spaces
Ambush Patient stealth Can catch unsuspecting prey with ease Dependent on prey coming close
Speed & Agility Quick reflexes, eyesight Able to locate and catch prey quickly May miss if the prey is faster
Raptorial Forelegs Sharp spines Securely hold on to prey while eating Not effective on larger animals

Praying Mantis Vs Spiders

Diverse Size of Spiders

Spiders, part of the arachnid family, come in various shapes and sizes, with some species like the black widow being venomous and potentially dangerous. On the other hand, praying mantises, also known as mantids, are a type of insect with elongated bodies and modified front legs for grasping prey1. Generally, larger mantis species can capture and consume larger spiders, but it depends on the individual mantis and spider sizes.

Natural Predators

Praying mantises have been known to eat spiders in their natural habitats, making them one of the spider’s natural predators2. While not all mantis species eat spiders, those that do have remarkable adaptive tactics to help them catch and subdue their prey.

Adaptive Tactics

One of the mantis’ most impressive adaptations is its ability to rotate its head 180 degrees3, allowing it to locate and track moving prey like spiders better. Additionally, they can camouflage themselves, patiently waiting for their prey to come within reach before quickly striking and capturing it.

  • In some cases, mantises can avoid getting entangled in a spider’s web, which can be a significant advantage.
  • Market example: The Chinese mantid, a common non-native species, has been sold commercially for pest management, as they are known to consume a variety of insects and other small prey5.

Praying Mantis Spiders
Elongated body, modified front legs Varied sizes, some venomous
Can rotate head 180 degrees Web-making abilities
Preys on spiders, among other insects Preyed upon by praying mantises, among other predators

Interactions with Other Animals

Prey Species

Praying mantises are carnivorous insects that feed on a variety of prey, including:

They also feed on butterflies and various pollinators. Some larger mantises can consume small vertebrates, like small birds and rodents. Praying mantises are also known for their sexual cannibalism, wherein females sometimes eat males during mating.

One interesting interaction is between praying mantises and spiders. Mantises are known to eat spiders, although they are not their primary prey. They use their camouflage to surprise and capture spiders.

Predators of Praying Mantis

Praying mantises can fall prey to various predators in the animal kingdom, including:

These predators may rely on their speed and agility to capture mantises, as well as their ability to avoid their counterattacks. Praying mantises, on the other hand, employ camouflage to avoid detection, making it more challenging for their predators to catch them.

Fascinating Praying Mantis Features

Physical Characteristics

  • Size: Praying mantises vary in size, but most are between 1-6 inches long.
  • Head: They have a distinctive triangular head that can turn 180 degrees to help spot prey.
  • Legs: Praying mantises have six legs, with the front two being highly modified for grabbing prey.

Praying mantises have spiny front legs to help secure prey, and their exoskeleton provides added protection. Overall, their structure makes them agile and deadly predators.

Behavioral Traits

  • Diet: Mantises consume a wide variety of small prey, such as insects, spiders, small mammals, and even reptiles.
  • Hunting: They usually wait in ambush with their forelegs upraised, ready to strike when prey comes near.
  • Cannibalism: Mating behavior can be fierce, with females biting off the male’s head during or after mating.

Praying mantises have a unique pair of “hands” that they use to seize and hold their prey, which can include creatures as large as mice and small birds.

Role in Ecosystem

While mantises help control insect populations by feeding on pests such as moths, ticks, and small crickets, they also eat beneficial insects, including pollinators and other predators.

In some cases, people introduce non-native mantis species in hopes of controlling agricultural and garden pests, but their impact on ecosystems can be mixed.

Feature Benefit Drawback
Size and agility Allows them to prey on different types of insects Can also harm beneficial insects and other predators
Toxic and non-venomous Safe for humans; not dangerous Doesn’t deter larger predators
Vision Exceptional eyesight helps spot prey at great distances Attracts prey easily, making them more conspicuous
Cannibalistic Helps regulate their own population Hinders sustainable growth in certain environments

In summary, praying mantises play crucial roles in their ecosystem as both predators and prey. Their physical characteristics and behavior make them fascinating creatures to study and observe.

Footnotes

  1. Praying Mantis – Garden Hunters | Extension Marketing and Communications 2

  2. Praying Mantids | Entomology – University of Kentucky 2 3 4

  3. Praying Mantid (Mantis) | University of Maryland Extension 2

  4. Watchable Wildlife: Praying and Chinese Mantises 2

  5. Praying Mantids | Home & Garden Information Center 2

Reader Emails

Over the years, our website, whatsthatbug.com has received hundreds of letters and some interesting images asking us about these insects. Scroll down to have a look at some of them.

Letter 1 – Mantis eats Mouse: Staged Photo or Documentation of Nature????

 

ahhh!!! Praying mantis eating a Mouse!!! ICE!!!
Praying mantis eating Mice!!!
hey hey Bugman,
saw your carnage section of WhatsThatBug.com, and wanted to add some carnage in favor of our insectoid friends. Attached is some pictures of yes, a Mantis eating a Mice; it looks like a common green mantis, found here near DC, European Mantis (Mantis religiosa) and it had a ferocious appetite!!!
TopheR

Did you take this photo?

yes, they were taking fall 2007, I have a few more pictures and a short video I believe. I live in the northern VA area, near DC.
TopheR

Hi again TopheR,
Thanks for verifying that you are the author of this photo. When we first received it, we were reluctant to post without that confirmation because the image might have come from another website specializing in internet sensationalization. Now that you have been established as the author, we have additional questions and are ready to take the dialog online. There is still something about this image that doesn’t quite sit right with us. The mouse looks like a domestic mouse. No one will contest that Preying Mantids will eat what they can catch. We have seen photos of Mantids eating hummingbirds and lizards. Is this a captive Preying Mantis that was fed a pet store mouse?, or was it an actual documentary image of nature in action? The plant looks like a potted plant shot indoors, leading us to believe it is a staged photograph. We also want to clarify the difference between our Carnage pages and our Food Chain pages. Nature in action does not constitute carnage. Human intervention constitutes carnage. Insects eating one another and other life forms is the balance of nature, and those images find their way to our Food Chain section. Until we get a response from you regarding our latest queries, we will post your image to both Unnecessary Carnage (if the mouse was fed by you to the mantis for a sensational photo and video) and Food Chain (since the mantis did actually eat the mouse).

Update: Documentation of weird nature.
I had some pinkies I was feeding to my savannah monitor one at a time; I put them at the base of that ficus tree while I went to feed the lizard. The mantis was drawn to the movement of them, possibly the faint squeaking if they hear that good, and grabbed him one. I was suprised that the mantis could actually grab and hold onto it and climb because the pinkie mouse felt heavier than the mantis itself. The mantis ate enough of the mouse it kill it, but didnt finish all of it; it dined on the neck region of the mouse and then I assume after it was full, dropped the pinkie and proceeded to clean its claws and “fingers”.
TopheR

Thanks for the clarification TopheR,
We will officially remove this entry from the Unnecessary Carnage page, and keep it on the Food Chain page where it belongs.

Letter 2 – Katydid or Preying Mantis

 

Subject: Is this a bug?
Location: Costa Mesa CA
March 31, 2017 2:21 pm
Hi Bugman!
Last month is was in Costa Mesa CA at the Pelican Hill Golf Course and this flew in front of our golf cart. It was between 6-7 inches long. Seem like it was translucent pale pale green- almost a little glowy. It was around 2:00 p.m. sunny warm day
Signature: Hilary R Gad

Likeness of a Katydid

Dear Hilary,
We like your sketch.  Because it appears that the creature in your sketch has long back legs, we suspect you saw a Katydid, but we would not rule out that you encountered a Preying Mantis.

Letter 3 – Lesbian Mantis

 

Subject: Unknown Mantis, Lesbos, Greece
Location: 39.197873,26.179991
October 18, 2012 3:24 pm
Dear bugman,
I’m unable to tell what species this
is. I tried the determination key from
earthlife.net but i’m unable to work it
out. Can you help me?.
It was fotographed early in october of this year near Skala Kaloni, Lesbos, Greece, sitting near the beach.
Signature: B. Schoenmakers

Mantis

Dear B. Schoenmakers,
In ancient Greece, the Preying Mantids were called prophets and the English name is derived from the Greek.  One cannot help but to wonder if this Lesbian Mantis is one of the populations of Mantids that do not need men for survival.  Brunner’s Mantisfrom Texas is known only from female specimens and they reproduce parthenogenically, without mating.  All the progeny are genetically identical to the female that spawned the brood.  We believe the Mantis in your photo is a female, and we haven’t a clue to the species and we haven’t the energy at this time to try to research it. 

Lesbian Mantis

We do think your photos are gorgeous and we hope that some expert or Mantis aficionado can comment with an identification.  Sometimes the markings on the inside of the raptorial front legs are helpful in identification of different Mantis species, including the South African Mantis that was introduced into New Zealand.  It poses a threat to native New Zealand Mantids. 

Lesbian Mantis

Update
Subject: Unknown mantis, Lesbos, Greece 2
Location: 39.197873,26.179991
October 20, 2012 8:07 am
Thanks for the reply, great story, (thankfully the women of our species on the island still seem to prefer men for reproduction, they might bite your head of in the process though 😉
This is another photo of the same mantis
showing more of the inside of the raptorial front legs. I don’t remember any clear markings there.
Signature: B. Schoenmakers

Mantis

Thanks for the update B.

Letter 4 – Little Yucatan Mantid

 

Mantoida maya (new to your site)
I took this photo in the Wekeiva forest in Seminole county, FL, while out taking pictures of bugs, imagine that! I was going to ask you guys to identify this for me but I found it on BugGuide.com. I had never seen a mantid with such a short "neck" before! I thought I was going to get to name this one, but, alas, it is not new to science just new to me. Tiny for a winged mantid, he was about 1". His bobble eyes are funny, but what I love most about this little guy is the beautiful color and texture of his dark coppery wings. I didn’t bother him and he skittered off, rather quickly for a mantid I might add. I hope you guys post this as I could not find any other photo of a Mantoida on your site. Oh yeah I alsmost forgot to say – I LOVE YOUR SITE! Rock on.
Silas

Hi Silas,
Thank you so much for contributing to our site with a new species, the Little Yucatan Mantid which is native to Mexico and Florida.

Letter 5 – Mantis Dilemma

 

Praying Mantis egg case is where it should not be….
Help Bugman!
What do we do now?
As you know, we found this Praying Mantis around Thanksgiving day, and we decided to keep it because it was too cold to leave it outside. Well, today (December 16), I came home from work and found that she had just attached an egg case to the lid (metal mesh) of the terrarium that she is currently living inside. Isn’t it kind of late in the season for her to be doing this? Anyway, if she had put the egg case on one of the vines, I could have taken it and hidden it outside in one of the bushes. But, instead, she had to go and stick it to this big metal lid. I know that if we keep this egg case inside the house where it is warm, a gazillion praying mantis babies will hatch sometime in January or February. It will be still way too cold for them to go outside and I doubt if we could keep them all alive. So, I know that it is important to get this egg case out of this warm house as soon as possible. Problem is, this lid is way too big to put in the refrigerator and too big to hide outside in our small bushes. First we saved the mom, now we have to find a way to preserve her offspring. (I’ve attached a picture of our dilemma). I’m not sure what to do about this. Any suggestions?
Mary Strong-Spaid

Hi again Mary,
We are sorry to hear that your kind deed is becoming a burden. First, mother Mantis will not live forever. You could try putting the entire terrarium outside after she dies. Perhaps a better solution is to pry the eggcase off of the screen and proceed with the plan to place it in the bushes. The eggcase is composed of an insulating foam and prying it off once it is hardened will not damage all of the eggs. You will then help to ensure the survival of the some of the offspring by postponing the hatching until there is a food supply. Good Luck.

Thanks for the advice on what to do with the egg case. I would really like to see the them around in the spring. We didn’t want them accidently coming out into a winter world where there is not enough room or enough food. I assure you that our Praying Mantis, Martha (my husband named her), is not a burden! We have enjoyed having her with us for the past few weeks. We know that it won’t be long now before she dies. We’ll be sorry to see her go. Again, thanks for the help.
Mary

Letter 6 – Mantis eats Fly in Tijuana

 

Subject: mantis eating fly in tijuana
Location: south of the border
October 20, 2013 2:41 pm
Hello Bugman,
I was out watering my plants and this little brown mantis caught my eye. The last time I saw a mantis in TJ was about 30 years ago. This one was posing above one of my carrion flowers waiting for the stench of the flower to attract a bug. Two minutes later it was munching on a fly. Don’t really know the specific name for this mantis. Thanks for your time.
Signature: baja by foot

Possibly female California Mantis
Possibly female California Mantis

Dear baja by foot,
With the surge in popularity of organic gardening, more and more people are employing means other than pesticides to help control problematic insects, and that includes using predators like Preying Mantids, Lacewings and Lady Beetles.  While this is admirable, in some cases the widespread use of predators can have negative consequences at the local level.  The Preying Mantid ootheca that are sold are most commonly those of non-native species, and the Chinese Mantis and European Mantis are larger and more aggressive than our native species.  They not only compete for food, but they often make meals of our smaller native species.  We believe your mantis is a female California Mantis, Stagmomantis californica, and you can try comparing your image to this photo on BugGuide.

Possibly female California Mantis
Possibly female California Mantis

We hope your individual is fertile and that she will produce a future generation so that you can encounter the species year after year, instead of just once in three decades.

Mantis eats a Fly
Mantis eats a Fly

Letter 7 – Mantis eats Leaf Insect in Thailand

 

Mantis eating Leaf Creature
Wed, Oct 22, 2008 at 6:21 PM
Hello Bugman. I thought your great web site might like to see this shot I took of a Mantis snacking on some kind of leaf look-a-like insect. I almost passed right by them.
This is in a “Lum Yai” fruit tree in Northern Thailand.
Love your site!
Dan
Northern Thailand in foothills.

Mantis eats Leaf Insect
Mantis eats Leaf Insect

Hi Dan,
Thanks for sending us your wonderful Food Chain images.  Since our site migration a few months back, our readership is now able to click on the smaller image to enlarge and your photos really demand this closer inspection.  We believe your leaf creature is a Phasmid known as Phyllium siccifolium.  Bugsincyberspace.com has some nice images of living individuals.

Mantis eats Leaf Insect
Mantis eats Leaf Insect

Letter 8 – Mantis Eggcase

 

Butterfly type?
Hi there,
its the start of winter here in Ontario and while walking along a creek the other day I found this on an old surveying stick. Its about 2.5 inches long by 1.5 wide and 1.5 deep, pretty fat for what I’m guessing is a butterfly pupae. It was found near Orangeville, Ontario if that helps at all. Sorry for the dark photo but it was more ‘toffee’ colored than the pic shows and quite scaly. Thanks. A great site that is really fun to scan through.
Andrew G. Bruce

Hi Andrew,
This is a Preying Mantis Eggcase and in the spring, several hundred mantidlings will emerge.

Letter 9 – Mantis Foreplay?

 

mating praying mantis
Hi there!
I appreciate your website! It’s been entertaining and informative! I’m enclosing two photos (taken in mid September in Southeastern PA) of praying mantis mating or about to… they maintained this pose for at least 45 minutes. I wanted to see if the female does indeed terminate the relationship by eating her mate but I had to go take care of the family (dinner time.) And so it goes… Any information you could add would be helpful.
Thanks very much – Kristin

Hi Kristin,
Much of what we are about to say is speculation on your photograph. First, the female mantis does not always eat her mate, but it often happens. A wily male will escape. You photo does show a pair with the male on top and this must have something to do with mating. We suspect he has captured her, but is not in the proper position to do the deed. He needs to turn himself around without losing either his mate or his life. Guess we will never know if he succeeded.

Letter 10 – Male European Mantis

 

Subject:  Insect clinging to the side of my house
Geographic location of the bug:  Lakewood, WA
August 28, 2017 4:40 PM
Never saw one like this before. It’s been clinging to the side of my house for 3 hrs now. It is 2.5″ long.
How you want your letter signed:  Beate Otto

Male European Mantis

Dear Beate Otto,
Based on this BugGuide image, we are confident this is a male European Mantis.  According to BugGuide:  “Widespread in the United States and in southeastern and southwestern Canada, but often not as common in hot humid or very dry climates as elsewhere. Generally not found in desert regions except in agricultural, urban, or otherwise artificially watered environments. Perhaps(?) not able to overwinter in north-central US and south-central Canada. It can be expected almost anywhere, because it is often sold as egg cases for pest control in gardens, even in places where it cannot survive long term.”

Letter 11 – Mantid From India

 

Another Indian Mantis
Similar to Rohan’s Pink Mottled Indian Mantid which I found in your site is this beauty I found outside my door in Chennai, Southern India, last night. I very much regret, having been something of an insect lover all my life, that India has turned me into a mass murderer, and that I am using UV killers to despatch the many, many mosquitoes that otherwise make my life hell. It is interesting though, that the one on the landing outside my door quickly became part of the local eco-system: on day one it was full of bodies. Ever after it has been full of ants! Hey guys! New meat shop just opened up! This fellow (or lady?) too, seems to have realised that it is a good thing to sit near to catch things that fly to it. How about the length of that neck? How about the leaf-like detail on the legs and head? Utterly wonderful! I’m calling it Leaf Mantis: got a proper name for it? Just been told about your site. It’s fantastic. I’ll be back! One more question: what is the difference between a bug and a beetle?
Thank You!
Nick H.
Chennai, India

Hi Nick,
Thanks for your great letter and beautiful photo. Sorry, we don’t know what species of Mantid you have. Exotica is often very difficult to properly identify because of the dearth of information available. Beetles have complete metamorphosis and chewing mouthparts. True Bugs have incomplete metamorphosis and sucking mouthparts.

Letter 12 – Mantis eats Minnow in Captivity and ruminations on evolution

 

Subject: Mantid eating a minnow
Location: Evergreen Park, IL
November 23, 2013 1:36 pm
I always bring some mantids in before a hard freeze and then put the oothecae outside to help ensure future generations(usually after mating, the first three ootheca will be fertile but none afterward). The females can get quite hungry after laying their ootheca and will gladly eat a minnow. I don’t think you’ll see that in the wild though 🙂
Signature: Ozzy

Mantid eats Minnow
Mantid eats Minnow

Hi Ozzy,
Thanks for sending us your photo of a Mantis eating a Minnow in captivity.  Your comment about the unlikeliness of seeing this in the wild struck a chord with us.  Just yesterday, while working in the yard, we thought about how man has affected the evolution of the creatures around us.  Often when we think of evolution, people get wrapped up in the origin of new species, but appearance and behavior of existing species also constitutes a type of evolution.  Since many insects, including many Mantids, only live a single season, it is possible to witness an evolutionary change during a single person’s life span.  If you continued to feed minnows to Mantids, and then included a bowl of water containing live minnows in your habitat, the Mantids might eventually learn to fish for those minnows.  Subsequent offspring might eventually carry the gene that includes the instinct to fish, and when those individuals are then released into the wild, they might eventually spawn a population of Fishing Mantids.  We realize this is a very far fetched scenario, however, we do believe that nurture affects nature.

Reader Emails

Over the years, our website, whatsthatbug.com has received hundreds of letters and some interesting images asking us about these insects. Scroll down to have a look at some of them.

Letter 1 – Mantis Rescue!!!

 

The Praying Mantis smile
On November 22, we found a very cold praying mantis outside laying on the ground. We brought the mantis inside and placed it on one of our houseplants to see if it would "warm up" and come back to life. It did. And then it got lost in the house. After we finally found it on top of a dining room curtain, we put it back down inside the plant. Then, I found a large bug in the back yard (I think it was a stinkbug?) and put it in front of the praying mantis. The praying mantis reached out, grabbed the bug, and ate it wings and all (head first). After it (is it a she?) finished the bug, the praying mantis turned its head, looked at me, and "smiled". Hmmmm… Is the mantis smiling because it is grateful, or is it thinking "come a little closer my dear, your next on my menu….." Rather unnerving. I have nothing else to feed it. I think I am going to have to put it back outside! Happy Thanksgiving.
Mary Strong-Spaid

Hi Mary,
Your story is so sweet. You can always go to the pet store to buy crickets and keep your mantis as a pet. Seems a shame to shoo it into the cold.

(11/25/2005)
You are right. It would have been “a shame to shoo it into the cold”. With snow flurries and 30 degree weather, the mantis wouldn’t stand a chance. So, this morning we did go out and find some live crickets at the local pet store. Now, not only is the Praying Mantis still inside where it is warm…it is very, very happy. It sends its thanks on to you.
Mary Strong-Spaid

Authors

  • Bugman

    Bugman aka Daniel Marlos has been identifying bugs since 1999. whatsthatbug.com is his passion project and it has helped millions of readers identify the bug that has been bugging them for over two decades. You can reach out to him through our Contact Page.

    View all posts
  • Piyushi Dhir

    Piyushi is a nature lover, blogger and traveler at heart. She lives in beautiful Canada with her family. Piyushi is an animal lover and loves to write about all creatures.

    View all posts
Tags: Praying Mantis

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6 Comments. Leave new

  • nightlurker
    May 17, 2009 2:42 am

    if you still have it, you can tell its gender. If you start counting the segments on its abdomen starting from the back legs, you will find that the males have 6 segments but the females have 8.

    If the mantis can fly, it’s probably a male.

    Reply
  • This is a female of some Rivetina species (unfortunately, very difficult genus to say the exact species most of the times). These mantises have an interesting biology characteristic: females do not lay oothecs on stones or plants, but bury them instead in the ground to protect them from drying out. They even evolved a pair of hooks at the end of abdomen for this purpose, that can be seen on the second picture.

    Reply
  • As cool as that would sound, it just isn’t possible to inherit an acquired trait like that. A population of fishing mantids could come about if the next generation learned it from their parents, but this girl’s genes won’t be changed by her learning.

    Reply
    • Thanks for your input Joshua. We weren’t really serious, but we were playfully pondering the possibilities. What we do know is that through generations, insects and other creatures develop instinctual behaviors that are not learned, but somehow passed from generation to generation. We also know that inherited characteristics are passed from generation to generation. If learned behavior can eventually become instinctual, then it might be hereditary. As conditions change, including things like climactic conditions, only the creatures that adapt can survive. We really haven’t been studying creatures long enough to know if instinctual behavior can be modified when environmental conditions change. We admit that stating that Mantids might eventually learn to fish is a fantasy, but how did Fishing Spiders learn to fish? We will likely never know because the changes are so gradual and the written record is so brief that time erases evidence.

      Reply
  • Found a small praying mantis, by where I sit outside. It has been there for a few days. I don’t know what to do. It is getting colder out and I live in NJ. HELP!!!

    Reply

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