The praying mantis stands to be one of the most identifiable of insects, made popular not so much as common encounters with them are, but more because of their unique attributes as insects.
The subject of a number of ancient martial arts movements, the 2008 short animated feature Kung Fu Panda: Secrets of the Furious Five gave more focus and emphasis to the individual characters in the Kung Fu Panda franchise’s storyline, with the praying mantis given his due “background” story.
Often kept as pets, praying mantises are defined by their “prayer stance”, with their front legs appearing to be bent and set on a prayer position. This “prayerful” aspect of the mantis, however, is somewhat contradictory since mantises are known for their predatory capabilities and not for their piety.
Either brown or green hued, mantises as predators are known for their camouflage skills, utilizing their legs in incapacitating their prey when their attack is least expected. Swift and fast, attacks inflicted by praying mantises are so fast that the human eye can’t readily see them move, thus the reason why a number of kung fu stances are named after them.
Typically, flies, grasshoppers, crickets and moths are known to be a mantis’ prey, though other insect species are also known to have fallen victim to their attacks. Still, it is the unexplainable “mating ritual” of praying mantises that fascinates people, where males are often fed on by females after or during mating.
How Kung Fu Panda’s makers will touch up on this mantis aspect will remain to be one that won’t be mentioned, for sure.
Praying Mantis Video