Which type of insect has never been listed as an endangered species?

And the answer: praying mantis.    
Photo credit: Shiva shankar

In the United States, an urban myth was circulated in the 1950s that it was illegal to hurt praying mantises. Perhaps the myth has helped in ensuring their survival. As it turns out, praying mantises are experts at hiding and camouflaging, as well as incredibly useful for eliminating pests. They’re especially integral as a natural pesticide for maintaining gardens.

Although they appear as docile and beautiful creatures, the praying mantis can attribute much of its longterm survival to its surprisingly fearsome predator instincts. For example, these exquisite creatures display extreme accuracy when moving and jumping through the air. The praying mantis can, in fact, contort their body midair to land on a precarious and specific target. This means that the creature can wait patiently for prey to approach before then striking with lighting speed. What's more: the spikes which cover their legs certainly make easy work of securing that meal (suddenly, I'm glad they're only a couple inches long).

Praying mantises also possess impressive abilities to camouflage themselves. While it's easy for most to quietly blend into the greenery, others take it further and molt to change colors at the end of a season. Some mantises so closely resemble a flower that they need not even move from the top of a petal to catch their next meal. And the mantis isn't picky when it comes to mealtime: they will eat anything from insects to small hummingbirds.

Fun fact!

While praying mantises have excellent eyesight and the ability to rotate their heads 180 degrees, these bugs only have one ear! Located on the underside of its belly, just in front of its hind legs, the one ear of the mantis means that it can not discriminate the direction of a sound, nor its frequency. What it can do, however, is detect ultrasound, or sound produced by echolocating bats.



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