Is a Praying Mantis Good Luck?

Brandon Doan/CC-BY 2.0

In African culture, a praying mantis is a sign of good luck if it lands on a person, and some tribes believe the insect supplies fire and brings the dead to life. African bushmen call the praying mantis “Hottentotsgot,” which means “god.”

The name “praying mantis” is Greek and translates literally into “prophet” or “diviner,” so it is not odd that in France, for example, sighting a mantis signifies the return to home of a lost child. In other cultures, a praying mantis points the way to Mecca. Whatever a mantis represents to the world, in the insect realm, it is a determined predator that uses its prayer-like front legs to grab and eat prey alive.