With formidable hunting prowess and mythical lifestyle, this six-legged critter is fabled throughout history.
It is said that the finest of stories has the strongest openings. Thereupon, when I consider telling you one on mantis, I was literally experiencing a bombardment of different preludes. Well, truth be told, this ancient creature has a collection of stories. It can tell you how it was worshipped in bygone ages.
How to sustain in stardom—you can get a great set of suggestions from mantis. For a comic fan, the recountal goes to the clout of mantis in portrayal of heroes. There is a fighting style in Kung Fu after mantis—indeed, a good narrative. You can even get a book on petting mantis at home. For scientists, mantis oozes enigma. And, the list seems without ending remarks.
According to legends, it is also savvy to start stories from origins. In all plots, mantis is originally referred as an insect.
Hold it right there! Do not cringe! Do not stop at its relatedness with cockroach. A mantis has a very unusual lineage. With formidable hunting prowess and mythical lifestyle, this six-legged critter is fabled throughout history.
What makes a mantis?
Well, there is the Mantis in the movie Kung Fu Panda, the closest drawn depiction. But, what really makes up a mantis in nature? Let us start with super-abilities. This stealth package has 180-degree rotating heads, five eyes, six legs, and a long chest (what may look like a giraffe's neck to you!). The rest of the mantis is its abdomen, a large belly. Mantis are winged, but, they are not accustomed to air travel much. They thrive in places with plenty of covers, moist and humid to some extents.
The proverbial claws
Raw or sketched, it is the legs that are the stand-out features of a mantis. Studded with downward curved spikes, the front leg pair are to snare and snag. To reflex faster than a blink, these raptorial legs are synced with the long antennae and other sensors. Encounter any mantis from rain forest or desert, they all have these common features.
How many are there?
Mantis forms a rich lineage. There are 2400 different types of mantis. Most come from the tropics. From the Americas to Africa, Asia to Oceania, they persist in all continents (maybe not Antarctica). The rarest and unbeknownst live in the dense thickest of Brazil and Indonesia.
Cloak and dagger, altogether
Mantis are fast when it comes to close range strike. To get close to food, they have patience, a lot. Yet, they need a disguise for shrouding their intent, and to hide their not-easy-to-hide claws. Fortunately for this reason, they have mastered camouflage.
Mantis prefers to blend with the backdrop. Those who live among leaves takes on green colour. Those preferring leaf litter, take decaying leaf pattern with all detailing wrinkles. Then, there are some who live in orchids. Evolution has made them a flower look-alike; with one exception—this doppelgänger hunts.
With copying and all, mantis even adjust their very own fine-tuning. They know how a leaf or twig may rustle in gentle breeze. In the same manner, they perform slow dance as if inebriated.
Deadly, yet, a calculated affair
Trope message and a female mantis eating a male after some intimacy— is a common meme across internet. But, there is more to it. In truth, a male doesn't fall victim to its much larger partner. Rather, he sacrifices himself for one greater good. He gives up so that the expecting mantis mother can gain more energy. More energy means more eggs meaning more baby mantes.
In beliefs, in lifestyles
The colourful life of mantis is enticing. It has been so since the dawn of age. This insect is featured in cave paintings. It has been placed among Egyptian gods—an honour granted to only a handful of insects.
Still, to date, many forest tribes venerate them. The life of mantis is often followed by Shaolin monks across Indochina (Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia) and Tibet. Mantis exemplifies the Chinese scholar San Tzu as well. The little insect can feign wobbly demeanour while hiding its true power—as "The Art of War" teaches us. And, when it comes to thriving, they are professionals as if learnt from that very book.
So, mantis lives an ancient path, and this is the mantis story for you. Whenever you encounter one, behold: Show respect and leave it be!