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The Lie: Evolution


The Insect That Prays

By Garry K. Brantley

What do you do when you pray? Do you bow your head and close your eyes? Perhaps you place your hands together when you pray. Did you know that a certain insect is known for praying? In fact, “praying” is part of its name.

The praying mantid belongs to the mantid order of insects. These insects really don’t pray. Praying mantises got their name by the way they look when they hunt. They sit perfectly still, with their forelegs raised toward the sky. In this position they look like they are praying. But really, they are waiting for their prey to come near.

God designed the praying mantis with powerful forelegs which stretch out quickly to capture and grasp insects. Like the blades of a penknife, these legs snap back to catch insects. Its legs also have spines which hold the victim securely and keep it from escaping. Praying mantises capture insects so well, sometimes people call them “preying mantids”. These mantids help us by eating harmful insects. Garners often buy eggs of the Chinese praying mantis. After they hatch, they are placed in gardens to help control harmful insects.

But what keeps the praying mantis from being eaten by a larger animal? Mantids are camouflaged very well. Often they are green, or green and brown, to match their surroundings. Some are colored like a plant’s flowers. For instance, the pink flower mantis of Southeast Asia has a pink underside that looks like a pretty pink flower.

Sometimes, however, their camouflage fails and a larger animal finds them. But God gave these insects another means of defense. If an animal threatens the praying mantis, it will flash its wings and rear up with its front legs spread. This sudden change may scare away its attacker.

The insect world is an amazing place. We may pass by many insects without noticing them. But when we observe these wonderful creatures, they remind us of the wonderful God who made them.

Discovery March 1993 pg. 18