Can Praying Mantis Fly?

Praying mantis have been shrouded in mystery throughout the ages.  A common question regarding this intriguing insect is can praying mantis fly?  The short answer is yes.  However, this depends on the species, the stage of life, the gender, and the weight of the animal.  Many species of praying mantis do not develop wings, while other species only develop small wings that are incapable of flight.  Some praying mantises can develop full-length wings that span the length of the body.  There are two sets of wings.  The outer set is colored and functions as camouflage and protection.  The inner set of wings is colorless and delicate.  These are the wings that function in flight.  Wings don’t fully develop near the end of the insect’s life span.

Males weigh less than females, and are capable of longer flights.  They most commonly take flight at night, following the scent of a female’s pheromones.  During a night flight, bats snatch praying mantis out of the air.  Praying mantis are equipped with a single ear that is capable of sensing bat echolocation.  This warns praying mantis of an approaching bat.

Females are larger than males, and are typically capable of only short flights.  When praying mantis fly, they make loud flapping noises.