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Insects and other arthropods

Mantids

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Description

Mantids are among the most recognizable insects. Their characteristic prayer-like posture, with folded forelimbs close to its thorax, is what earned them the common name of praying mantis. They have a very mobile triangular head and large compound eyes. Their broad, spiny forelegs are used to capture living prey.

In many species, the females are wingless or short-winged. Males have two pairs of wings and use them to fly to their partners.

The mantid species found in Canada and the United States belong to the Mantidae family. They are brown, green or grey, and blend in with the colour of the surrounding vegetation and bark.

Life cycle

In Quebec, mantids survive the winter as eggs, which are laid in an ootheca, a type of case that looks as if it is made from papier maché or insulating foam. The female makes the ootheca, which she attaches to a twig or branch. In the spring, dozens of young mantids hatch and immediately start looking for prey. They resemble adults, only smaller, and are wingless.

The young develop into adults after several moults and mate at the end of summer. The eggs are laid, then the adults die with the first frosts.

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