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RTPI – Meet Your Neighbours: European Mantis

The European Mantis (Mantis religiosa), a non-native mantid appropriately named for its prominent front legs held together at an angle suggesting the position of prayer, is a fascinating and frightening predator. Their triangular heads can turn a full 180 degrees to scan their surroundings while they lie in ambush or patiently stalk their next meal. Once an unsuspecting moth, cricket or other appealing insect is in their sights, they will fling their front legs, equipped with spurs, forward to snare and pin down the insect with reflexes so quick that they are often difficult to see with the naked eye. Interestingly, these mantids are even predators to their own species. Females are known to sometimes eat their mate immediately following or even during mating. Who knew breeding could be so hazardous!


The ‘Meet Your Neighbours’ global biodiversity project is a worldwide photographic initiative dedicated to reconnecting people with the wildlife on their own doorsteps (wherever on the planet this doorstep happens to be) – and enriching their lives in the process. The animals and plants found in our immediate vicinity are vital to people: they represent the first, and for some, the only contact with wild nature we have.