Any of more than 1,500 species of the insect suborder Mantodea (order Orthoptera). The long-bodied, slow-moving mantis (or mantid) eats only living insects, using its large forelimbs to capture and hold its struggling prey. The female is likely to eat the male after mating. The European Mantis religiosa and the Chinese mantis (Tenodera aridifolia sinensis) have been introduced to North America. The latter grows to 3–8 in. (8–20 cm) long. The name mantis (“diviner”) reflects an ancient Greek belief in its supernatural powers.
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