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Mante religieuse, Mantis religiosa © Hans Hillewaert

The Praying Mantis

The Praying Mantis, (Mantis religiosa) is a species of insect of the Mantidae family, originating in Africa and introduced throughout the Mediterranean zone.

Souvenirs entomologiques

“Of a fair size, of curious structure, and well in evidence on its twig or stone, the nest of the Praying Mantis could hardly escape the attention of the Provençal peasant. It is well known in the country districts, where it goes by the name of tigno; it even enjoys a certain celebrity. But no one seems to be aware of its origin. It is always a surprise to my rustic neighbours when they learn that the well-known tigno is the nest of the common Mantis, the Prègo-Diéu. This ignorance may well proceed from the nocturnal habits of the Mantis. No one has caught the insect at work upon her nest in the silence of the night. The link between the artificer and the work is missing, although both are well known to the villager.”

Souvenirs entomologiques, Jean-Henri Fabre, 1897, 5th series, Chap. 20.

Oothèque, soie dans laquelle la mante dépose ses oeufs © Hans Hillewaert

An egg-capsule, in which the mantis lays her eggs © Hans Hillewaert

Find out more about this species

The Praying Mantis, (Mantis religiosa) is a species of insect of the Mantidae family, originating in Africa and introduced throughout the Mediterranean zone. The name “mantis” comes from naturalist’s Latin, mantis (in use since Linnaeus in 1735). The Christian tradition has appended “praying” to the name on account of its forelimbs, which it folds as if in prayer when on the lookout for prey. The Provençal Prèga Dieu (pray-to-God) is also used.

More information about the Praying Mantis on the Inventaire national du patrimoine naturel (INPN) site:
Mantis religiosa (Linnaeus, 1758)

The mission of the INPN is to catalogue the environmental, faunal, floral, geological, mineralogical and paleontological wealth on France’s national territory, an inventory for which the Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle has scientific responsibility: inpn.mnhn.fr

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