|A praying mantis, or praying mantid, is the common name for an insect of the order Mantodea. Often mistakenly spelled preying mantis (a tempting mistake, as they are notoriously predatory) they are in fact named for the typical "prayer-like" stance. The word mantis derives from the Greek word mantis for prophet or fortune teller. The preferred pluralization is mantids, though there is some usage of mantes or mantises. The world's largest praying mantis was recorded at 45cm (18") long, in Southern China, in 1929.
The walking stick or stick insect is a related specimen to the praying mantis. They are both in the same class of insect but are not related any other way.
Like all insects, a praying mantis has a three segmented body, with a head, thorax and abdomen. The abdomen is elongate and covered by the wings in adults. Females have strong and large cerci. The first thoracic segment, the prothorax is elongated and from it arises the modified foreleg.
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