The praying mantis (Mantis religiosa) is named for its prominent front legs, which are bent and held together at an angle that suggests the position of prayer. In fact, the word mantis comes from the Greek mantikos, for soothsayer or prophet. They use their legs to snare prey – moths, crickets, grasshoppers, flies, and other insects – with reflexes so quick that they are difficult to see with the naked eye. Praying mantids have a flexible joint between the head and prothorax that enables them to swivel their heads a full 180 degrees.
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