The Natural World: Mantids

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.

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The Natural World: Spiders

By Tina Mitchell Spiders too often get a bad rap in mainstream Western culture. “They’re aggressive.” Unless you’re an insect, most try just to avoid you. “They want to bite you.” No, only if you give them no other choice but to defend themselves. And while spiders have fangs, many are not long enough to …

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