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Jeweled Flower Mantis
 Creobroter gemmatus
Java Is., Indonesia
Dead Leaf Mantis
Deroplatys decicota * 
Cameron Highlands, W. Malaysia
 
female
2.8" long 
male
2.65" long
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Praying Mantis
 Central California, USA
Sighted 8/5/2018
Juvenile Praying Mantis
 Central California, USA
Sighted 5/5/2017
male
0.75" long
(Left antenna tip missing)
female
1.15" long
Mt. Argopuro
Jeweled Flower Mantis
 Creobroter sp. - male
W. Kalimantan, Borneo Is., Indonesia
0.8" long
Leaf Mimic Mantis
 Theopompa servillei -female
Java Is., Indonesia
1.5" long
Giant Asian Mantis
 Hierodula sp.
E. Java Is., Indonesia
2.95" long
Asian Jumping Mantis
 Statila maculate -female
Java Is., Indonesia
(One cerci (spike) on abdomen broken off)
1.95" long
Praying Mantis
 Mojave Desert, Southwestern USA
Collected10/5/2014
Approx. 1.5" long
Praying Mantis
Mojave Desert, Southwestern USA
Collected10/5/2014
Approx.1.6" long
Carolina Mantis
 Stagmomantis carolina - male
League City, Galveston, TX, USA
Collected 9/28/2016 at light
2.2" long
Asian Jumping Mantis
 Statila maculate -male
Java Is., Indonesia
(One cerci (spike) on abdomen broken off) 
1.65" long
Giant Asian Mantis
 Hierodula sp.- female
E. Java Is., Indonesia
2.15" long
Mantidfly not Mantis
 Mantispidae sp.
Cerro Mauco, V Region, Chile
Collected12/10/2014
0.45" long
Note: Length is from front of forehead to tip of abdomen.

 

How Mantises Defy Evolution

Mantises are insects that should give us pause.  Well known for their raptorial forelegs that are often held in a praying posture and their camouflage, these predatory insects have some amazing characteristics.

When a mantis spots its prey, it only takes 50-70 milliseconds to strike with its forelegs. [1]

Mantises have a very flexible joint between their head and prothorax.  This allows them to rotate their heads 180 degrees like mammals.  They are the only insects known to have this ability. [2][3]

They have two bulging compound eyes that are widely separated on their triangular heads.  Mantises are the only insects “proven to have 3D vision like humans.” [4] This is an amazing feat for a bug brain.  Unlike the human brain that can perceive distance on stationary objects, a mantis can perceive distances only on objects moving with respect to their eyes.

Juvenile wingless mantises are quite agile jumpers making amazingly calculated jumps and landings at varying distances.  They prepare to jump by moving their head side to side to determine the distance to the target and adjust their center of mass by curling their abdomen and adjusting their legs.  Then they leap rotating in air in a controlled fashion using their “abdomen, front legs, and hind legs – independently and in a complex sequence. As the mantises sail through the air, the spin is transferred from one body segment to the next, keeping the body as a whole level and right on target.” [5] Rotation is stopped in the last 10 milliseconds to face the target before landing. [6] To stop rotation in this manner is quite a difficult feat and the landings are precise.

Many mantises have one ear (auditory organ) that is located between their hind legs.  Having one ear is unusual as it takes two ears to know which direction a sound is coming from.  Mantises rarely fly in daytime so predatory birds are usually avoided.  Males fly at night in search of females and this puts them in danger of becoming food for echolocating bats.  Their ear can detect the bat’s ultrasound (high pitched) and the changes in its chirping as it gets closer prompting evasive action. Alerted, the mantises suddenly stop flapping their wings and dive bomb towards the ground often evading the bat.   Not all mantises have an ear especially those that do not need one because they cannot fly.  [7]

Evolutionary theory is found wanting in the details. How did the mantis get its flexible joint to rotate its head and 3D vision when no other insects are known to have these?  How did the mantis become programmed to calculate precise distances and make amazingly precise landings? How did it develop an ear to detect ultrasound and the insect’s brain become programmed to interpret it and perform a divebombing evasive maneuver? All this requires the creation of a lot of complex information and processing that only rationally is created by intelligence not random mutations and natural selection that result in the loss of information.

 

Mantidflies have forelegs similar to mantises but are otherwise in many respects quite different from mantises.  One evolutionist claimed mantidflies had developed these legs through convergent evolution.  This assumption is based on evolution philosophy employing the circular reasoning that mantidflies exist therefore they had to have evolved and since they have forelegs like mantises but are otherwise quite different than mantises, therefore they had to have evolved these forelegs independently in a convergent manner.  In reality, there is no proof that this happened instead of their being created.  

 _________________________

[1] Praying Mantis, Saint Louis Zoo https://www.stlzoo.org/animals/abouttheanimals/invertebrates/insects/grasshopperskatydidscricke/prayingmantis

[2]Praying Mantis, DesertUSA, May 8, 2009, https://www.desertusa.com/insects/praying-mantis.html

[3] 10 Fascinating Praying Mantis Facts, ThoughtCo., May 8,2019, https://www.thoughtco.com/praying-mantid-facts-1968525

[4]  Heffernan, Sean, 5 Praying Mantis – debugged, Ehrlich debugged, May 5, 2014, The Pest Control Blog, https://www.jcehrlich.com/blog/5-praying-mantis-facts/

[5] Ziv, Stav, How Praying Mantises Could Help Build Better Robots, Newsweek, March 5, 2015, https://www.newsweek.com/how-praying-mantises-could-help-build-better-robots-311774

[6] Piui,Tibi,How the praying mantises make their amazing leaps, ZME Science, March 6, 2015, https://www.zmescience.com/science/biology/how-praying-mantis-jumps-09534543/

[7] 10 Fascinating Praying Mantis Facts, Ibid.