As someone with a paralysing fear of bugs, the idea of a gigantic insect accompanying me on my commute home is less than desirable.
New York City subway-goers endured my nightmare recently, when a massive praying mantis joined passengers for the ride.
NYC Councilman Keith Powers tweeted a photo of it:
Powers captioned the photo: ‘Like most New Yorkers, I’m frightened by the gigantic praying mantis on the subway but also relieved that he didn’t yell ‘It’s showtime!’
Some people replying to the tweet said they also find the insect creepy, while others wish the mantis well and hope it gets back to a tree branch somewhere.
Praying mantes are carnivorous insects that belong to the family Mantidae – there are about 2,000 species of mantids. They feed on beetles, butterflies, spiders, crickets, grasshoppers, spiders, and other mantes – yes, they’re cannibals, and capable of taking down prey three times their size.
They are a common pet for insect enthusiasts, capable of living up to one year with proper care and food – it’s recommended you feed them an assortment of live insects.
Camouflage is key to their survival, with their green and brown colours keeping them hidden from birds.
According to The Pest Control Blog, praying mantes ‘strike twice as fast as a blink of an eye’ and ‘will slowly devour the unfortunate prey slowly with its ultra sharp mandibles’. They will bite humans if provoked, but they’re not venomous and will cause little harm.
If you want to see a praying mantis in action out in the wild, check out the video below:
As a prime insect predator, they’re a gardener’s best friend – aided by their triangular heads that turn 180 degrees and large eyes, they help keep down the population of bugs which are a threat to farming.
Here’s another wonderful praying mantis fact for you, courtesy of The Pest Control Blog:
Females of some praying mantis species will actually eat the male when mating with a male. After the male performs a complex mating dance, the female will bite the head or legs off the male during the mating act.
Unlike Ken Brockman, I absolutely do not welcome our new insect overlords.
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After graduating from Glasgow Caledonian University with an NCTJ and BCTJ-accredited Multimedia Journalism degree, Cameron ventured into the world of print journalism at The National, while also working as a freelance film journalist on the side, becoming an accredited Rotten Tomatoes critic in the process. He’s now left his Scottish homelands and took up residence at UNILAD as a journalist.