Can Praying Mantis Have Seizures?

Occurrence of seizures in insects is common when they lose coordination between the brain and body. Sometimes, praying mantis show abnormal behavior and suffer from limbs stiffening when they have seizures. Violent shaking of bodies is observed in mantis, but it rarely occurs.

Can Praying Mantis Have Seizures? Praying mantis can have seizures due to chemical poisoning as toxic chemicals disrupt the nervous system’s functioning. In addition, it can be when they are dying, parasitic attacks, molting, stretching their body, and camouflaging behind moving objects.

They have a simpler nervous system that lacks the ability to resist brain damage. They lose coordination in activities controlled by the brain until they enter a relaxed mental state. They do not have seizures more often, but shaking or swaying of bodies is common among these insects.

Why do praying mantis have seizures?

Praying mantis shake their bodies intentionally, or it can occur due to certain medical conditions. It is pretty normal for them to have seizures because they naturally move back and forth.

However, some other reasons can also account for such behavior among praying mantis, like stress of molting, chemical poisoning, camouflaging behavior, etc.

Chemical poisoning

Exposure to toxic chemicals that can cause chemical poisoning, which can cause seizures in praying mantis. It can be an accidental exposure while targeting other insects.

The insecticidal sprays usually disrupt the functioning of their nervous system and alter their behavior. Their brain cannot coordinate activities when exposed to lethal or toxic chemicals.

I observed seizures in my pet mantis when I used the chemical spray to reduce the population of ants around its cage. The chemical ingredients cause interference in its brain performance.

This way, their bodies begin to shake for a few minutes before death because these toxic chemicals lead to complete disruption of the nervous system.


The muscular spasms and seizures occur in praying mantis when they are dying. One of my friends told me that its pet mantis shivered for almost 3 hours and died later.

He brought an adult male Chinese mantis from a store that survived for only one month and died. It was not exposed to any toxic chemicals and lived in ideal environmental conditions.

However, it was difficult to determine whether it died from seizures or whether this shivering behavior was due to the arrival of the end stage.

He studied and asked the expert about such behavior and came to know that it is common for praying mantis to shake their bodies before dying.

So, these are indicators of death in these carnivorous organisms as they lack the energy to maintain control of their bodies.


Sometimes, people relate camouflage movements with seizures due to a lack of knowledge about their behavioral strategies to startle predators.

They move back and forth or even sway sideways when hidden behind swaying leaves due to air. They usually remain motionless when camouflaging; that’s why people do not consider it normal.

However, they cannot remain motionless if the background environment is not still, so they move along with the moving leaves or branches of trees.

This way, they blend with tree leaves and look like a part of the background environment due to their green body color and shivering bodies.

There is nothing to worry about if you see a hidden mantis shivering because it is just trying to blend with the environment, not having seizures.

Parasitic attack

The praying mantis suffers from distress when ectoparasites or endo-parasites attack their body and try to remove parasitic organisms immediately.

They move back and forth to remove external parasites, and people consider that they are having seizures. However, it can be a trick to shake their legs and body to get rid of parasites.

In addition, they can also have seizures in real when endoparasites like horsehair worms attack their body and get nutrients from it.

The nerve cells in the brain lose connection when the parasite attacks its body and invades its internal body system. They get badly affected by parasitic attacks and suffer from seizure attacks.

Molting or physical stress

The molting process is quite painful for insects as they have to replace their old exoskeleton with a new skeleton.

Accordingly, the young nymphs suffer from stress and pain after the initial molting stages. They also have seizures if they cannot tolerate the stress of molting and are about to die.

In addition, they also suffer from brain injuries after falling from a height due to significant damage to their brain. It can also occur due to shocks or quick attacks from predators.

Their bodies also shake when they are in a state of shock due to fear of predators in their territories and quick attacks.

Body stretching

It looks like a praying mantis is shivering or having seizures when they are stretching body muscles. It is normal for them because they usually remain still in one place.

They remain still and alert until the predators or prey come close to their bodies. So, they frequently shake their legs and other body parts to keep themselves active when sitting alone.

You can get confused by seeing a mantis stretching its muscles because it seems like they are suffering from a severe medical condition.

They can stretch their body muscles instead of having seizures when lying on the ground upside down and shaking their legs in the air.

What happens if a praying mantis have seizures?

Many people feel bad after seeing a mantis having seizures, particularly if they cannot help an insect. They cannot even stand properly when their bodies are violently shaking.

Their bodies keep shaking for a few minutes to several hours, depending on the reasons for seizures. Head twitching and open mouth are commonly associated with shaking behavior in mantis.

They bring forelegs close together when their brain cannot function properly, and the nerve impulse in the brain loses connection with the body.

Moreover, they attain a comfortable posture in stressful conditions and usually suspend their legs in the air after turning their bodies upside down. They tuck triangular heads down when suffering from shock.

In addition, they also bring their forelimbs close to the antennae and face and keep shaking their forelegs in the air until they die. Sometimes, their antennae also move wildly, and jaws become visible to the eyes.

This situation persists for several minutes after molting and egg-laying until they get back to a normal or comfortable state, but it leads to death in some conditions.

What to do if praying mantis have seizures?

Praying mantis do not need help if their bodies are violently shaking to blend with the background environment, as it is a strategy to protect themselves.

There is nothing to worry about if they shake after molting and egg-laying, as it is normal for them. However, you should take it to an expert entomologist if the shaking behavior persists for over a few hours.

You should know the age of a pet mantis and tell its age, living condition, and number of molting stages that occurred in its lifespan. So, you can know about the actual reason for seizures.

Chemical spraying or indirect exposure to toxic chemicals is the common reason for disturbance of their nervous system functioning and rapid shaking of body parts.

So, you can help prevent seizures in praying mantis by taking care of the chemical sprays and avoiding spraying toxic chemicals around them.

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