Is a Praying Mantis a Grasshopper?

Praying mantis share many characteristics with other insects belonging to the same order as grasshoppers, but they also possess some distinct features.

Is a Praying Mantis a Grasshopper? Praying mantis is not a grasshopper, but they look alike due to their similar body color, non-venomous nature, biting abilities, and habitat preferences. However, they belong to different families, have varying body sizes, dietary habits, lifespans, and activity times, and behave differently.

Almost all types of insects have segmented bodies and usually have 3-segments of their bodies. It is challenging for a common person to differentiate between a praying mantis and a grasshopper.

Are praying mantis and grasshoppers related?

Many people relate praying mantis to grasshoppers due to their habitat and similar body colors. Both have green or brown bodies and look alike when seen from a distance.

In some species, their bodies also have blue, pink, and orange hues, but they usually appear green or brown. This body color helps them hide behind the vegetation and camouflage.

However, grasshoppers usually look like cockroaches from a closer view and share many physical features, but their body color makes them look like mantis.

Both appear like twigs, and bodies are divided into three typical segments, but the head shape, eyes, wings, and many other features vary.

They are only related to some extent because they belong to the same class of insects and share many common features of insects. However, they are present in separate families and differ.

Both have a non-venomous nature and are not poisonous, and cause no toxicity in the bodies of humans and other animals, even if they bite. They are capable of flying short distances due to their foraging nature.

Furthermore, both can bite with their strong teeth but rarely bite when threatened. They use teeth to devour insects, while grasshoppers chew grass with their teeth.

How is a praying mantis different from a grasshopper?

Some differences in the physical and behavioral features of praying mantis and grasshopper also exist, making them different organisms that belong to the same class, Insecta.

Different families

These tiny creatures belong to the class Insecta, but their orders and families differ. The praying mantis belongs to Mantodea, containing more than 2300 species.

In contrast, the grasshoppers belong to Order Orthoptera and suborder Caelifera due to their distinct physical and behavioral characteristics.

They belong to a family of Acrididae comprising almost 10,000 species of hopping insects. The praying mantis is part of the family Mantidae, having 460 genera and thousands of species.

Body size

They differ in their body size because mantis are large in size and are 3 to 6 inches long, while the smaller species are approximately 2 to 3 inches long.

However, grasshoppers are smaller insects that are only 0.4 to 3 inches long. Their back legs are muscular and larger, which support kicking and jumping behavior.

In contrast, mantis have larger forelimbs that are helpful in foraging and hunting activities. Their body size creates a difference in these two insects, which is visible to only curious eyes.

Dietary habits

Both have varying dietary habits, as praying mantis are pure carnivorous insects that prefer to eat other insects and smaller invertebrates.

They do not consider plant-based foods, but a few species eat honeydew secretions. In contrast, grasshoppers are herbivores and feed on leafy plants, grass, moss, and even animal waste.

Commonly, they feed on green vegetation and avoid eating other insects unless they are dead and decaying, unlike mantis because these predatory insects.


The grasshoppers live a long life as they can live for almost 10 to 12 months in wild conditions. They can easily thrive in the summer and winter months and complete their lifecycle.

In contrast, the praying mantis lives for approximately 4 to 6 months on average if they are not living in ideal conditions. Their lifespan increases up to 1 year when they live in captivity.

However, other biological and external factors affect their lifespan, as they can die early if their habitat contains a large number of predators and less food.

Activity time

Another possible difference between the praying mantis and grasshoppers is the difference in their activity time. Mantis are nocturnal insects and become active in the nighttime.

They can exhibit hunting skills and continue their foraging activities in the darkness of night as they have keen eyesight. They can detect prey movement from a distance and get alert.

However, grasshoppers are diurnal insects that are usually active in the daytime, but sometimes, they also forage at night, depending on their nutritional requirements.

Physical appearance

Praying mantis have distinct body parts that are easier to differentiate, as they possess triangular heads and bulging eyes. They can turn heads at an angle of 360 degrees.

Both have compound eyes but varying vision abilities. They also possess a pair of antennae on their heads that are used for detecting smell and enable them to touch and hear.

Moreover, they differ in neck length, as mantis possess a long neck for better surveillance of their surroundings.

Behavioral differences

They have different behaviors, as grasshoppers are known for their singing behavior and create a sound by rubbing their legs against their wings.

They can also make crackling, snapping, and chirping sounds from their mouth and wings. These sounds help them find a mate and protect their territories from the attack of predators.

While, praying mantis usually produce a hissing sound by pumping air out from the abdomen or through spiracles.

They also make noise by rubbing, spreading, or shaking wings in the air. These sounds help them attract female partners for mating and threaten intruders.

Furthermore, sexual cannibalism is also common among praying mantis, but grasshoppers do not exhibit this behavior.

Do praying mantis jump like grasshoppers?

Many people consider praying mantis to be jumping insects like grasshoppers, but they cannot jump or hop efficiently like these insects.

They do not have long and strong back legs to support their jumping behavior. They are agile insects, but their legs are only suitable for grasping objects and capturing prey bodies.

In contrast, grasshoppers can make long jumps as they have well-developed muscular legs for jumping. It is only possible due to longer back legs, but mantis have large forelimbs.

Praying mantis are quite powerful insects as they have quick striking abilities and rely on their stealth. Their limbs adapt to their hunting behavior and support in capturing prey animals.

Accordingly, they do not waste energy on other activities like jumping and remain in one place. They remain stationary for many minutes and attack rapidly by flying short distances.

They extend their forelimbs and push their bodies forward to reach the prey’s body and attack it. So, you can find them flying up to a few feet, but they avoid jumping long distances.

Do praying mantis eat grasshoppers?

Praying mantis are efficient predators and rely on small insects for nutrition. They do not leave an opportunity to capture a tiny insect moving in their territories and make a quick strike.

They also eat grasshoppers without distinguishing them from other insects because it is easy to capture their tiny bodies.

They stalk grasshoppers from a distance and keep an eye on their movement. It leads to a quick attack when the mantis grasps their bodies in less than a second when they come closer.

Moreover, their small bodies can provide plenty of proteins and nutritional elements. They can eat around 5 to 6 grasshoppers daily, which varies according to body requirements.

Furthermore, the nymphs or young mantis also prey on these hopping insects if they get a chance to attack and devour their bodies.

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