Does a Praying Mantis Have a Tongue?

Praying mantis are powerful and agile creatures that can detect prey from a distance and make wise choices for food, which is only possible due to their strong senses.

Does a Praying Mantis Have a Tongue? Praying mantis have a long tongue that is naturally sticky, appearing black in color. It is forked from the end and rolls back into its mouth. They use it to suck juices and capture prey animals, as they can extend it up to 15 and 18 inches.

They possess many sensory organs crucial for survival, as they can hear, taste, smell, and see their surroundings.

Their remarkable sense of vision and smell help decide about the prey animal, but they also have taste receptors to check food’s quality.

Do praying mantis have a tongue?

Praying mantis belong to a category of insects having different body structures and functions from higher vertebrates because they lack bones and bigger bodies.

The tongue is a structural feature of vertebrates that is not present in invertebrates.

It is an elongated mouthpart in its mouth, which is used to eat broken food particles and transfer them to an internal gut.

The maxillary part is a long tube-like structure that appears black. Moreover, this structure is sticky and is forked at the end.

It does not contain taste receptors commonly present on the tongue for detecting food taste and differentiating between sweet, sour, and bitter.

Moreover, their taste buds are located on the tips of the thick hair covering their bodies, which can help sense food type and texture, including taste.

How do praying mantis use their tongue?

They need a tongue to perform different functions, like vertebrates, and use this organ to consume food. It helps suck juices from the animal’s body and pass them into the mouth.

In addition, this elongated mouthpart also plays a role in piercing prey as they inject it into their bodies after breaking an outer skin layer with mandibles.

They pass saliva from the mouth to the prey’s body through the tongue, which helps break down complex body tissues due to the presence of enzymes in the saliva.

This way, it allows easier consumption and digestion of the prey’s meat when digestive enzymes break down the proteins in muscles before eating.

Moreover, this tongue-like structure also helps manipulate food and control the consumption of all types of food. Praying mantis use this part to hold prey bodies while eating.

It contains sensory receptors to detect the quality of food, which can help avoid toxic food items and choose healthier options.

These receptors also evaluate the taste and texture of the food particles when they touch particles and give a signal to the brain about the food type.

How long is a praying mantis tongue?

They have a long tongue, which is typically shorter than those in vertebrates. It is a fascinating part of their body when they open their mouth and extend it.

It is almost 15 to 18 inches long and thin, depending on their species and body size.

They can roll it back into their mouth when not in use and extend it outward to eat their prey. It helps them in capturing prey animals from a distance without getting too close.

Accordingly, a mantis can capture prey from a distance of 16 to 18 inches, as their legs are 18 inches long.

In addition, they can maintain a good hold on the prey’s body using their mouthparts.

One of my friends told me about their long tongues as a praying mantis wrapped it around his finger by extending it when he tried to get closer.

Do praying mantis taste food with their tongue? 

They have a tongue in their mouth, which is commonly used for tasting food to make a suitable choice for consumption.

A poor choice and selection can pose a risk of death when they cannot differentiate between toxic and healthy foods, so it detects the texture and safety of food.

Praying mantis visual acuity is helpful and aids in locating a prey animal from a distance. They can decide about eating or rejecting any animal by vision, as they only attack smaller creatures.

In addition, their sense of smell and hearing also plays a crucial role in food selection, but tongues are involved in detecting their taste.

Their taste receptors are sensitive to various tastes, including sweet, sour, bitter, tangy, and a few others. They can detect honey by its taste and eat it for energy.

So, they have taste buds to taste food and detect its texture and quality to choose the right type of food for themselves.

What type of tongues does a baby praying mantis have?

Baby praying mantis or young nymphs also possess a tongue-like structure in their mouth that is used for capturing and eating prey.

These young nymphs are around 7 to 10mm long, so their small bodies possess small organs that can fit inside their tiny stature.

In addition, it helps them capture prey from a distance. They cannot eat larger animals, like mice or snakes, as they are not well adapted to deal with large prey and look for tiny insects to meet their energy requirements.

Moreover, they cannot grab or wrap around a mouse because it leads to an easier escape and loss of prey. Their tongues are also forked at the end and suck juices or hemolymph from insects.

Related Articles:

What makes praying mantis eyes turn red?

Can Praying Mantis Get High?