The praying mantis is a group of insects closely related to cockroaches and termites. It is thought that these insects are 135 million years ago, the first known fossils were found at that time in Siberia. The name mantid was used correctly to refer to the Mantidae which historically was the only member of the mantis family. There are about the main families of 15 that include more than the 2,400 species. The name mantis religiosa (matis religiosa) came from the prayer posture with the front limbs bent. The Khoi tribe of West Africa believed that the insect had supernatural powers and continued to call it the god of mantis, while in Greece it was believed that the insect showed the lost route to the travelers.
Religious mantises have triangular heads with beaked snouts and mandibles. The eyes are bulbous and are found on top of the head along with a pair of antennas. The neck is remarkably flexible with some species able to rotate the head up to 180 degrees. The mantids have compound eyes with stereoscopic vision with ommatidia 10,000. The praying mantis is able to locate the prey with the sight and its head is able to rotate bringing the image of the potential prey in the visual field of the fovea. The fovea is located in the front and has greater visual acuity than the rest of the eye, producing a higher resolution to examine the prey. The front two-pointed limbs (rapacious legs) are used to grasp and hold prey. These bent legs also gave the name of praying mantis. The thorax of the praying mantis consists of sections 3: the prothorax, the mesothorax and the metatarace. Mantis can be classified according to their wings or lack thereof. There are four categories: macroptero (long winged), brachypterous (short winged), vestigial (winged) and apterous (not winged). Prayer mantids are found in all parts of the world including the tropics and temperate regions.
Mantises are generally predators of ambushes, although some chase prey and eat almost everything, including the smallest individuals of their species. They camouflage themselves using the color of their wings to blend in with their surroundings and remain still waiting for the prey. Stalking is another tactic they use to catch prey. The earth species break down their prey until they weaken from exhaustion.
Mantises live for about a year. The reproduction takes place through the females that lay the fertilized eggs on the leaves of the branches of the trees, of the stems or of the ground. In tropical climatic zones the deposition takes place at any time of the year, unlike the temperate parts of the world in which the eggs are laid in autumn after which the female dies. The laid eggs are protected by a hard shell. Coupling sometimes occurs at the risk of males as females are forced to eat them during or after cutting off their heads. A common speculation has been that this happens to ensure that the eggs are properly fertilized or that they speed up the copulation process. However, this was rejected as false.