How Do Praying Mantis Sleep?

Praying mantis are active insects due to their quick strikes on prey, but they remain in the resting phase most of the time. However, they remain in a state of alertness while taking rest for long hours. A few species sleep during the day, depending on their habitat, while others prefer to hide and rest at night.

How Do Praying Mantis Sleep? Praying mantis sleep by drooping downward, hanging upside down, changing body posture, folding legs, and keeping eyes open. They become less responsive to stimuli when sleeping but remain alert. It helps conserve energy and improve metabolism, reproduction, and the immune system.

Sleeping postures vary among different species of praying mantis because a few prefer to lie down on the ground, while others hang on the tree branches. In the same way, the time and duration of rest also varies in insects according to living conditions. They reduce body size by folding limbs and tucking heads toward the body, which helps prevent identification by predators.

How does a praying mantis sleep?

Generally, they are diurnal creatures that remain active during the daytime and sleep at night. They rest for a few hours to relax their bodies and conserve energy for performing activities.

They have different behavioral adaptations during sleep and attain different postures while relaxing. You can tell a praying mantis is sleeping if it is less active or has a relaxing posture.

In addition, some other behavioral and physical changes also occur in the mantis that can help determine whether it is resting or not.

Droop downward

One of the prominent signs of a sleeping praying mantis is that their head droops downward. They tuck their heads under the second segment of their 3-segmented bodies: the thorax.

It is a relaxing posture when they tuck triangular heads under the thorax region. It provides comfort to these insects, but they quickly turn heads up after detecting threats in the surroundings.

My European mantis also droops its head downward at night, which helps me know about sleep time. I do not offer food or avoid disturbance when I see them drooping heads down.

Less responsive to stimuli

They change their behavioral responses to external stimuli at night when sleeping. They become less responsive to touch and noise when it is their time to relax.

They keep their eyes open during sleep due to the absence of eyelids, so it is challenging for people to know the time when they are resting.

Their sleep is different from mammals and other animals because they do not have deep sleep. They detect changes in their surroundings but avoid giving responses to human activities.

However, they can quickly recover from a state of stillness and reduced responsiveness if they see predators or other invaders. They jump or fly away from predators even if they are sleeping.

Hang upside down

Some praying mantis species hang upside down on the cage walls in captivity when feeling sleepy. This posture does not require a lot of energy as they feel comfortable while hanging upside down.

This behavior is also seen in the wild species that usually hang to the tree branches, twigs, leaves, etc. Other places to hang are the eaves of the building and plant stems.

I found them hanging in my garden many times, but I came to know later that they engage in this particular behavior when resting.

Changes in position or posture

Praying mantis reach safe spots at night and hide in the small gaps within walls to avoid the risks of attacks during sleep. They change position at night and avoid resting at hunting places.

In addition, they prefer to hide in the dense vegetation and trees heavily loaded with leaves. Such spots ensure protection from attacks of nocturnal birds and animals posing attack risks.

Moreover, they fold their legs beneath the thorax region and reduce their body size to avoid detection by predators. They change body posture to attain relaxing positions or improve their sleep.

Why do praying mantis sleep?

Every living organism needs sleep to relax its body or improve the functioning of the internal body systems. Similarly, praying mantis also sleep for several hours in the day or night.

It improves brain functioning and keeps them in good mental health.

Accordingly, it attains a resting position for long hours to perform their activities efficiently and survive longer. It also helps improve the growth rate and developmental processes.

Their hunting efficiencies are much better than the other insects because they do not have a hectic lifestyle. They usually remain still and avoid changing positions until predators poke them.

In addition, sleeping and conserving energy is better when there are no prey organisms to hunt. They can use conserved energy to fight predators and hunt prey the next day.

Their immune system works better after a sound sleep in addition to improvement in learning and memorizing good and bad past experiences.

Furthermore, hormones involved in reproduction and metabolism-related enzymes usually work efficiently during sleep.

How long do praying mantis sleep?

It is challenging to determine the exact time duration for which a praying mantis sleeps, as it changes among insects of different species and genders.

The male mantis does not sleep at night and rest for a few hours in the daytime, while the females engage in prolonged resting behavior at night.

In addition, their age determines their sleeping frequency and duration. The adults do not sleep longer than nymphs as they have a lot of activities to do day and night.

Moreover, they have a sedentary lifestyle, relating to sleeping behavior if it remains consistent for a long. They do not need to frequently and live without eating for a day or two.

One of my friends told me that its pet Chinese mantis sleeps after dusk and gets active in the early morning. It remains in a resting position all night and actively engages in movements during the day.

They remain in the resting phase for almost 75% to 80% of the daytime and get active only after seeing a prey or predator around them. Their sleep lasts for a few to several hours at different times.

Their sleep cycle adjusts according to their habitat, as nocturnal species sleep in the daytime, while diurnal species rest at night.

Where do praying mantis go to sleep?

Praying mantis change their position and look for narrow and safe spots to sleep that help avoid the risk of attacks from predators or intruders.

Commonly, they sleep on the ground surface by hiding under the leaf litter or other plant materials. They find plant stems a safe place to hang upside down at night.

They also hide behind the dense brown bushes in forests when the sun sets. It is challenging for predators to locate the mantis camouflaging in dense vegetation.

Other green mantis species also sleep on the tree branches and other man-made structures, like walls and outdoor furniture in the backyard.

Some seek shelter on window frames and garden structures designed to deter birds and garden pests. So, dense foliage, roof overhangs, shrubs, grass, etc., are suitable sleeping spots.

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