Photo of Praying mantis

Praying Mantis - insects of France

The Praying Mantis in France is one of the smaller varieties (Mantis religiosa), and is known as the European Mantis. It is usually less than 8cm long (in some countries, other varieties of Praying Mantis can be 30cm long and can eat birds!).

Colour is typically bright green, although browner varieties can also be found. They are often hard to spot, being very well camouflaged with the long grass / undergrowth in which they stalk their prey.

The European Praying Mantis eats insects, which are grabbed with sudden movements of the long strong forelegs. The Mantis begins to consume its prey while it is still alive.

Contrary to common belief it seems likely that the common 'fact' that females eat the males after mating is not true, and only happens in the artificial conditions of a laboratory. After mating, the female lays eggs surrounded by a 'foam', which then hardens to protect the eggs.

Curious fact: the European Mantis is the 'Official State Insect' of Connecticut, USA.

See more wildlife in France.