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Mighty Mantids
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Mighty Mantids @ National Geographic Magazine
Text and photographs by Mark W. Moffett
These ferocious insects are masters of disguise, outwitting their prey (if not always their predators).

Get a taste of what awaits you in print from this compelling excerpt.

She seems almost human, this mantid (above) I found in West Africa. She has such alert eyes, and her head tilts to follow me. But she is pure menace to any prey that happens to wander within range of those huge forelegs, which can snap shut like bear traps. Most of the roughly 1,800 species of mantids—often called praying mantises—spend their time sitting and waiting, seemingly at prayer. In fact, I learned as I pursued them across four continents, they are among the insect world's craftiest hunters.
Sphodromantis lineola, 3.5 inches (8.9 centimeters)

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