By Tina Mitchell
Mantids (for instance, the “praying mantis”) are some of the most distinctive and well-recognized of all the insect groups. The front prey-grasping legs capture everyone’s attention when they spot a mantid. The top of the thorax (the prothorax) is very elongated to support these prominent forelegs. Mantids have excellent vision, with the prominent eyes widely spaced on a triangular head that can twist, providing an almost 360-degree range of view, and a sometimes creepy look.