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Word Count: 407
The praying mantids or Mantodea are a fascinating group of predatory insects They can be found throughout the tropics and in many of the sunny temperature zones in the world Such as Southern Europe North America Canada and South Africa There are about 2000 species in the world The name praying mantid comes from the Greek word for a prophet or seer Mantids undergo simple or incomplete metamorphosis Most mantids are medium sized insects although some can be quite large The large Mantodea can reach up to 25 cm in length and eats small birds reptiles and other insects The small Mantodea only reaches up to 1 cm in length and eats small insects and leaves The eggs of the mantid are produced in an egg case called an ootheca which may produce 30-300 young mantids The ootheca provides some protection against the environment and hides the eggs from predators The young may hatch all at once or in batches over a period of several weeks Young mantodea just like cockroaches grasshoppers and crickets hatch as a pronymph surrounded by a protective membrane that they move to the surface of the ootheca Young mantids are extremely active The young should be fed fruit flies or other small insects They do well if supplied with as much food as they can eat But they can also go a long time without any food Mantids dont usually need a drink As they grow larger they will eat almost any insect Most mantids eat butterflies moths flies and other insects They catch their prey by using their front legs which are very strong The predators of the mantids are bats wasps and birds Praying mantids have long front legs with spines for catching and holding prey and a head that can turn from side to die There are only 5 species commonly collected in the United States and 3 of these
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