The stick-like elongated body of the Praying Mantis is found in a few other species. This insect has a worldwide presence and bugs that look like it is also commonly seen around the world.
There are more than 2.000 Praying Manties species and subspecies. Most people know the green Praying Mantis which lives in temperate and tropical climates.
What are Praying Mantises?
Insects of the Praying Mantis genus have bulging eyes, a triangular head, elongated bodies, and raptorial forelegs. These are adapted for grasping prey and they characterize this species together with the green color these insects are known for.
Praying Mantis Identification
The Praying Mantis is a camouflaged insect. It’s normally green but it can also be brown to hide in the grass, shrubs, and other vegetation by camouflage.
What Does A Praying Mantis Look Like?
Praying Mantises are part of the Mantodea group of insects. These are carnivores that grow to a maximum size between 0.5 and 6 inches.
Insects of the genus have long front legs. These legs are bent as adapted for catching and holding on to the food. A praying position is associated with these bent forelegs.
Behavior and Habitat
The Praying Mantis is known to look for prey in a very small habitat as it doesn’t like to travel long distances for food.
It patiently waits for prey to fall within its reach before ambushing it with its forelegs in quick movements.
Praying Mantises eat grasshoppers, moths, crickets, and all types of flies.
Bugs that look like a praying mantis
The following species are known to resemble Praying Mantises the most.
1. Stick insects
Stick Insects are green and similar to Praying Mantises. They also use camouflage as a means to catch prey.
Like the Praying Mantis, Stick Insects are known to resemble actual twigs.
These insects are longer than Praying Mantis. But they come in either green or brown coloring, similar to the Praying Mantis.
Stick Insects live in tropical habitats. They are found in forests where they take the color of the environment.
These insects also live in grasslands where they’re mostly green.
Like the Praying Mantis, Stick Insects can also have wings or they can be wingless.
This characteristic isn’t specific to the environment.
The wings of the Stick Insect are considered more exotic than the wings of the winged Praying Mantis.
Crickets are also confused with Praying Mantises. They grow to a size between 0.12 and 2 inches, which is similar to the size of the Praying Mantis.
Pastures are among the favorite habitats for crickets, as they are for the Praying Manties. Crickets are also found in woodlands.
While many crickets have a dark color, it’s the Tree Cricket that mostly resembles the Praying Mantis insect.
Both have a uniform green color.
Unlike the Praying Mantis, Tree Crickets have a wider body and long antennae.
They have an elongated head and not a triangular head with a long neck that can turn to 180 degrees as with Praying Mantises.
Tree Crickets are often found on trees, especially on green leaves. It’s here that their body coloring mostly makes them hard to spot due to a perfect camouflage appearance.
Katydids is a species of all-green insects often confused with Praying Mantis and Grasshoppers. These insects are known for having a green head, green legs, and long green wings.
Unlike the Praying Mantis, Katydids don’t have raptorial front legs or a triangular head as their head is larger.
Katydids can be of a similar size to the Praying Mantis which might confuse some people. However, Katydids insects are influenced by their habitat when it comes to their size.
Insects of the Katydids genus that live in dry climates are known to be small. They can be as small as 0.25 inches.
The same insects living in humid environments with higher food abundances can grow up to a few inches.
Camouflage is a common trait both in Katydids and in Praying Mantises. Both blend in with green environments in pastures or on green tree leaves.
Camouflage and their nocturnal status make these insects hard to spot.
Mantisflies (Mantispidae) are a species of insects that mostly resemble the Praying Mantis.
These insects are either yellow, brown, or green. However, green Mantis flies are rarer compared to their brown and yellow counterparts.
Mantis flies have high Praying Mantis resemblance through body size and body shape.
These insects can also grow up to 2 inches. Their legs are similar to the legs of the Praying Mantis.
Raptorial front legs are seen on Mantis Flies.
While nocturnal, Manties Flies insects are found in tropical and subtropical regions.
Grasshoppers come in all colors but they can be all-green, similarly to Praying Mantises.
Insects such as Grasshoppers are known to eat plants while Praying Mantises are carnivores.
Furthermore, grasshoppers also have long wings while a good percentage of Praying Mantis species are wingless.
One of the easiest ways to differentiate between similar-looking grasshoppers and Praying Mantises is by the thickness of their bodies.
Grasshoppers have a wider body while the Praying Mantis has a thin almost straw-like body.
Grasshoppers are easy to see in farmlands where they have destructive behavior. Locust plagues are often known for only involving thousands of invasive plant-eating grasshoppers.
Praying Mantises have unique body shapes and foreleg adaptations. Coupled with a camouflage green or camouflage brown color, this makes the insects a distinct species.
Their distribution through both temperate and sub-tropical climates makes them a common species around the world.
The common nature of the insects also makes some people confuse the Praying Mantis with other similar or partially-similar species.
Stick insects and crickets are among the species that most resemble Praying Mantises. Katydids are also known to resemble these insects. Mantis flies represent a different species which is still similar to the Praying Mantis. Finally, grasshoppers are among the green insects that resemble the Praying Mantis in coloring, size, and habitat.