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7 Praying Mantis Predators

The praying mantis is one of the few insects that truly capture people’s interest. These remarkable insects have captivated nature enthusiasts for centuries due to their unique appearance, elegant movements, and predatory prowess. Even while praying mantises are adept hunters in and of themselves, the situation can quickly change when they conflict with praying mantis predators.

Let’s examine some of these predators and see how they capture these strong insects in their natural habitat. 

Collage photo praying mantis predators

7 Praying mantis predators

The praying mantis is a tasty treat for numerous creatures, including birds, ants, frogs, spiders, lizards, bats, and hornets.

1. Ants

Fire ants battle
Fire ants battle | Image by ralflin from Pixabay

Praying mantises are fierce predators that have adapted their slender bodies and elongated forelimbs to capture prey. But ants, which are known for their social structure and working together, have shown to be tough opponents for these sneaky insects.

When ants come across a praying mantis, they can act aggressively and in a coordinated manner because they‘re searching for food and resources. They work together often, using their numbers and cooperative strategies to overpower and control the mantis. This can involve swarming the mantis, biting it with its powerful mandibles, and injecting formic acid, a defensive substance, into the mantis’s body.

2. Birds

Nothern mockingbirds eating praying mantis
Northern mockingbirds eating praying mantis | image by Becky Matsubara via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Birds are considered one of the most common predators of praying mantises in the wild. Their excellent eyesight can detect even the tiniest movements in their surroundings, enabling them to locate praying mantises perched on plants or disguised in their habitat. As soon as a bird recognizes a mantis as a possible source of food, it may quickly swoop down and seize the mantis with its sharp beak or feet.

3. Frogs

Mediterranean tree frog perching
Mediterranean tree frog perching

Frogs are amphibians that live in a variety of terrestrial and aquatic habitats, such as forests, grasslands, and wetlands. Their diet includes insects, spiders, and other small invertebrates, such as praying mantises.

Due to their nimble nature and specialized adaptations such as long, sticky tongues, these amphibians can capture prey, such as praying mantises, with remarkable accuracy. They use their sharp eyesight to spot their prey’s movements and quickly attack by snatching the mantis with their tongues.

4. Spiders

black and yellow garden spider making web
Black and yellow garden spider | Image by Roland Steinmann from Pixabay

Spiders have diverse adaptations that make them skilled and efficient predators. Many spider species are known for their ability to produce silk strands, which they use to bind their prey or build complex webs as hunting equipment.

These silk threads can trap or tangle a praying mantis, making it unable to escape or defend itself. They also have venomous fangs or stingers, which they use to paralyze and subdue their prey. 

5. Lizards

Eastern blue-tongued lizard
Eastern blue-tongued lizard | image by Tambako The Jaguar via Flickr | CC BY-ND 2.0

You could also find that lizards, which are a varied group of reptiles, play a key role in regulating insect populations, including mantises. The nymphal stage of mantids, when they’re smaller and more defenseless, is the most common time for lizards to attack and consume them. 

Whenever a mantis nymph emerges from its egg case, it becomes a possible prey item for lizards that are looking for a quick meal that’s also high in nutrients. Lizards rely on their stealth and ability to sneak up on their prey, utilizing their sharp teeth and powerful jaws to capture and consume the mantises.

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6. Hornets

European hornet
European hornet | image by Judy Gallagher via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Hornets are one of the most prevalent animals that prey on praying mantises in their natural habitat. These animals are a kind of large wasp that you may know for their aggressive nature and powerful stings.

Due to this, mantises may lose in competition with hornets due to their hunting techniques. These insects are also drawn to the movements and size of mantises, making them prime prey in the hornet’s hunt.

7. Bats

Jamaican fruit bat
Jamaican fruit bat | image by Bernard DUPONT via Wikimedia Commons | CC BY-SA 2.0

Watch out for bats if you want to find a praying mantis predator in your area. These nocturnal flying animals are renowned for using echolocation to find their food by sending out high-frequency noises and deciphering the reflections they receive. While bats commonly consume insects such as moths, mosquitoes, and beetles, they also feed on praying mantises.

Even though praying mantises are well-camouflaged ambush predators, they aren’t immune to bats’ strong senses. Bats can detect the wing movements and sounds produced by flying insects, allowing them to pinpoint their location accurately.