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Mantodea (or mantises, mantes) is an order of insects that contains over 2,400 valid species and about 430 genera (Otte & Spearman 2012) in 15 families worldwide in temperate and tropical habitats. Most of the species are in the family Mantidae. The English common name for any species in the order is "praying mantis" (Bullock 1812), because of the typical "prayer-like" attitude with folded fore-limbs, although the eggcorn "preying mantis" is sometimes used in reference to their predatory habits (Partington 1837, National Geographic Society 2011). In Europe and other regions, however, the name "praying mantis" refers to only a single species, Mantis religiosa. The closest relatives of mantises are the termites and cockroaches (order Blattodea). They are sometimes confused with phasmids (stick/leaf insects) and other elongated insects such as grasshoppers and crickets.

All Mantids belong to the insect order Mantodea. The etymology of the word Mantodea and of the common name 'mantis' come from the Greek word μάντις (pronounced mantis) meaning prophet. The word Mantodea includes as a suffix the Greek word εἶδος meaning form or shape. The name was coined in 1838 by the German entomologist Hermann Burmeister (Essig 1947, Harper 2001-2012).


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