For years I have always thought that praying mantises were closely related to grasshoppers. I guess many people can make this assumption because of their similarities.

Both the mantid and grasshopper are fairly large insects, with each of them able to exceed 2 inches long. However, the grasshopper is quite bulkier and arguably stronger, especially with the back legs. 

Their heads and mandibles are also similar. Green is a common color for both of these species as well.

The grasshopper is in the order of Orthoptera, however, while the mantis is in their own order of Mantodea. This is quite like hyenas and dogs. The hyena resembles dogs in many ways but they are actually closer to cats and mongooses

Later on, from further study, I was startled to find out that praying mantises are actually more closely related to the cockroach.

While I am an animal and insect lover, I often cringe at the mere sight of roaches. I am sure I'm not the only one to say that I despise roaches! But let me keep my opinion of them to myself, after all this is an unbiased educational and informative website!

So yes, mantids and roaches are distant cousins. They come from the same ancestor. 

However, like many distant families, they took on opposite roles in the insect world.  Here is a video of a fatal family encounter.  Do mantises enjoy eating roaches?  Well, take a look:



I hope the music did not weird you out too much.  If mantises don't really eat roaches normally, than this one must have been really hungry.  I guess these distant cousins could not settle their differences non-violently!

By Noy Ilao