Why Do Praying Mantis Eyes Turn Red?

Praying mantis can change their body color to camouflage themselves and blend with the background environment, but their eyes are also known to change color.

Why Do Praying Mantis Eyes Turn Red? Praying mantis eyes can turn red due to excitement and changes in emotions, light intensity, pigment concentration, disturbed physiological state and aggression. Their eyes can be naturally black, purple, green, and red, while the Gambian spotted-eye flower mantis has red eyes.

They also undergo physiological changes due to changes in their state of emotions, as sudden excitement and changes in their habitat lead to changes in their eye color.

What makes praying mantis eyes turn red?

Their eyes can change color and appear red at some specific time when they feel a negative mood change or light intensity.

Pigment concentration

The pigment concentration affects the eye color of praying mantis, as these appear red if the pigment concentration is higher. This pigment is hemoglobin present in the blood vessels and eyes.

A large number of blood vessels leads to increased absorption and less reflection of light, making them appear reddish. In addition, melanin pigment also contributes to changes in color.

The excessive presence of melanin pigment due to overexpression of the melanin gene leads to brown eyes, while their lens appears red if this pigment concentration is lower.

Moreover, the blood vessels become visible and give color to their lens when the melanin pigment cannot express properly.


A state of excitement can also make their eyes change color temporarily because a fast heartbeat and dilation of vessels increase the blood flow toward the organ of vision.

Moreover, this phenomenon is similar to blushing in higher organisms when their cheeks appear pinkish due to increased blood flow to their face.

Dilation of blood vessels can cause whitening of their eyes; that’s why these appear reddish or dark pink due to the clear visibility of the blood vessels.

Changes in light intensity

Light intensity does not change their eye color, but mild changes appear in the shade when day turns into night.

Praying mantis naturally adapt to darker environments by changing their color to darker tones, while their eyes appear brighter in the daylight.

Moreover, their eyes give a light green shade in the daytime and get darker or turn black completely in the darkness or at nighttime.

In addition, they have a pseudo pupil or dark spot that commonly absorbs and reflects light rays, giving a specific hue to their eyes according to the extent of absorption of light rays.

It is observed that the orchid mantis (Hymenopus coronatus) has a light pink or white lens in the daytime. However, you can observe a remarkable difference at night as it changes to deep purple.

Display of aggression

Some physiological changes occur in the body when emotion changes from normal to excited or angry. Similarly, their eyes appear red when they display anger.

Different factors can give rise to aggression among these insects when they feel annoyed. They get angry when invaders try to get control over their territories.

Moreover, its eyes are usually green when it feels comfortable and calm, but it turns red when angry or aggressive.

This display of aggression also changes their body color and shape physically. I found a sudden change in the eye color of my pet praying mantis when I was trying to pinch its body, which was quite threatening for me.

Disturbed physiological state

Their eyes change color when suffering from a disturbed physiological state like molting or shedding an older exoskeleton.

Their compound eyes lack lids or lashes and are covered with a thin exoskeleton layer. It removes the waxy layer covering the eyes and causes severe pain or irritation.

Accordingly, this process is quite painful and causes inflammation of their bodies, particularly their eyes, making them appear red when the exoskeleton layer is removed.

One of my friends observed a change in the color of a molting mantis as its eyes changed from green to red for a short duration.

The lens is exposed to the external environment until a new waxy layer covers it. This molting process occurs gradually, posing a risk of dryness or irritation.

Some other external factors are also responsible for irritation, but these factors do not involve air particles as they have a layer of exoskeleton on their eyes.

What color eyes do praying mantis have?

Praying mantis possess two large compound eyes on the sides of their triangular head and three ocelli in the middle region of their head.

They have multiple lenses that are used to magnify different parts of an object to create one big picture of the object. Their bulging eyes usually appear green in a healthy and stable state.

It is also normal for them to have black lenses as they have a blackish blob in the middle of their eyes. Green and black are normal colors that are present in different mantis species.

Their nymphs usually have pale green-colored lenses at the time of birth. It changes slightly into dark green or even bright red during different states of mood and emotions.

Moreover, they are unique insects with remarkable abilities to change their eye color at different times of the year and in different conditions.

They suffer from severe pain during molting that occurs almost 6 to 10 times during their entire lifespan. The color changes from dark green to pale or dark red during molting.

However, the new exoskeleton layer makes them lighter again when they complete the process of shedding their old exoskeleton.

Furthermore, the darker color is due to excessive pigment in their visual units or ommatidia.

This change is usually temporary, as they can attain a green color after entering a stable state when their excitement, anger, or molting phase ends.

What is a green praying mantis with red eyes?

A significant variation is present in the eye color of different species of praying mantis, as a few species have pale or dark green while others have a black or red color.

Moreover, you can also see changes in the color of male and female mantis, depending on their habitat, dietary habitat, and environmental conditions.

The Gambian spotted-eye flower mantis has a naturally green body and red eyes, but this characteristic feature is only related to male insects, while females have green hues in their organs of vision.

It belongs to the African mantis category, which is a giant insect native to Africa.

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