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Observations on the Life cycle, Mating and Cannibalism of Mantis religiosa religiosa Linnaeus, 1758 (Insecta: Mantodea: Mantidae)

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To know the insect world, along with the diversity studies observations on the insect behavior are also significant. The life cycle study and other observations made on the mating and cannibalism in Mantis religiosa religiosa. Being hemimetabolous insect, M. religiosa religiosa shows ootheca (egg), nymph and adult stages in the lifecycle. The incubation duration of ootheca is about 18 days while nymphal duration is about 61 days with six moults. The average lifespan of male and female is 165 and 196 days respectively. The entire life cycle period of female is 31 days more than male. The mating was allowed mostly when female is engaged in feeding which decreases female aggression. The cannibalism was noticed during nymphal stage by incidence of overcrowding as well as in female which devours the male. As M. religiosa religiosa is predatory on grasshoppers, aphids, planthoppers etc. The information of the present study will be applied for biological control of crop pests.
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Journal of Entomology and Zoology Studies 2016; 4(6): 478-482
E-ISSN: 2320-7078
P-ISSN: 2349-6800
JEZS 2016; 4(6): 478-482
© 2016 JEZS
Received: 02-09-2016
Accepted: 03-10-2016
Raut GA
Department of Zoology,
Shivaji University Kolhapur,
Maharashtra, India
Gaikwad SM
Department of Zoology,
Shivaji University Kolhapur,
Maharashtra, India
Correspondence
Gaikwad SM
Department of Zoology,
Shivaji University Kolhapur,
Maharashtra, India
Observations on the Life cycle, Mating and
Cannibalism of Mantis religiosa religiosa
Linnaeus, 1758 (Insecta: Mantodea: Mantidae)
Raut GA and Gaikwad SM
Abstract
To know the insect world, along with the diversity studies observations on the insect behavior are also
significant. The life cycle study and other observations made on the mating and cannibalism in Mantis
religiosa religiosa. Being hemimetabolous insect, M. religiosa religiosa shows ootheca (egg), nymph and
adult stages in the lifecycle. The incubation duration of ootheca is about 18 days while nymphal duration
is about 61 days with six moults. The average lifespan of male and female is 165 and 196 days
respectively. The entire life cycle period of female is 31 days more than male. The mating was allowed
mostly when female is engaged in feeding which decreases female aggression. The cannibalism was
noticed during nymphal stage by incidence of overcrowding as well as in female which devours the male.
As M. religiosa religiosa is predatory on grasshoppers, aphids, planthoppers etc. The information of the
present study will be applied for biological control of crop pests.
Keywords: Life cycle, Mantis religiosa religiosa, mating, development, cannibalism
Introduction
Praying mantids are the predators with peculiar habits of predation, camouflage and
reproductive behavior and are known to lay eggs in the complex ootheca. They are very well
known for their cannibalistic behavior during courtship. The Praying mantid Mantis religiosa
religiosa commonly called as European mantis, was first described by Linnaeus in 1758. Some
taxonomic account of this species also given by Mukharjee et al. [1] and Vyjayandi [2].
Although, several experimental works was done on this species for its behavioral and
ecological studies, etc. but studies related to biology of M. religiosa religiosa are scanty.
Predation efficiency of this species is potent through the course of lifecycle and hence
biological studies are very important in insect management. This species is widely distributed
throughout the India and habitual to live near human habitation and agricultural fields.
A population of mantids (M. religiosa religiosa, Linnaeus, 1758) was studied in natural
conditions between August 2003 and October 2003 in a submontane habitat near Vicenza in
Italy [3]. The population was observed and studied with the mark and recapture method.
Different dynamics between males and females probably linked to sexual cannibalism were
recorded. In particular, the estimated population of adult males decreased faster than that of
females and in the end of the season only females were present [4, 5]. The seasonal occurrence
of the two main colour patterns (green and brown) of M. religiosa religiosa was studied and an
increase in green specimens percentage was observed from summer to Autumn [3]. The green
and the brown colors can occur in different instars of one individual but in addition a partial
change in colour from brown to green have been observed in adult specimens kept in
laboratory conditions in late season[4]. Literature review indicates, scant information is
available on the biology of M. religiosa religiosa, hence efforts have been made to work on
life cycle of this species.
Material and Methods
The lifecycle study of M. religiosa religiosa was studied under laboratory condition at 25 °C
to 35 °C and 60% to 70% RH. The field collected female of M. religiosa religiosa dated 20th
March 2015 was reared in aluminum meshed cage (15cm×15cm×22cm). The hatched nymphs
were grouped in to three groups with 20 each and transferred in the different cages of same
size and observations were made.
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Journal of Entomology and Zoology Studies
Early instars i.e. 1st and 2
nd in stars were fed on diet of
Drosophila spp. on alternate days. Later in stars were fed on
the crickets, grasshoppers and plant hoppers, etc. Excess food
was avoided because of some cannibalistic species of
grasshoppers and crickets cause damage to the mantids. The
measurements of each nymphal instars, adults and oothecae
were recorded by vernier caliper along with photography and
finally statistical analysis was done. 1st and 2
nd instars were
anesthetized with carbon dioxide [6] and measured while other
instars and adults measured without anesthesia.
Results and Discussion
In the present study, life cycle of the M. religiosa religiosa is
studied along with the various observations such as
oviposition, hatching, nymphal development, food, mating,
cannibalism and colour morphs. The developmental durations
of the each stage of life cycle are given in Table 1 and
measurements of each developmental stage are given in
Tables 2-4.
Table 1: Duration of different life stages of Mantis religiosa religiosa in days.
Stages Duration in days. Mean SD SEM
Minimum Maximum
Ootheca (Egg) 17 20 18.1 1.19721 0.39907
Ist instar 6 8 6.8 0.78881 0.24944
IInd instar 7 8 7.3 0.48304 0.16101
IIIrd instar 7 10 8.4 1.17378 0.39126
IVth instar 8 12 9.8 1.47573 0.49191
Vth instar 12 14 13.1 1.22927 0.40975
VIth instar 14 18 16.2 1.47573 0.49191
Adult male 35 60 48.9 8.64677 2.48452
Adult female 70 90 81.27 7.12868 2.25428
n=10
Table 2: Width of Head capsule of different life stages of Mantis religiosa religiosa.
Stages Width of Head capsule (mm) Mean SD SEM
Minimum Maximum
Ist instar 1.12 1.30 1.20 0.060788 0.024817
IInd instar 1.72 1.82 1.77 0.036904 0.015066
IIIrd instar 2.12 2.39 2.29 0.087439 0.029146
IVth instar 3.54 3.60 3.21 0.023868 0.007197
Vth instar 4.18 4.26 4.22 0.026328 0.007938
VIth instar 4.83 4.92 4.86 0.029025 0.008751
Male 5.31 5.35 5.33 0.015982 0.006041
Female 6.60 6.64 6.62 0.015899 0.015899
n=10
Table 3: Length of Pronotum of different life stages of Mantis religiosa religiosa.
Stages Length of Pronotum (mm) Mean SD SEM
Minimum Maximum
Ist instar 1.45 1.6 1.54 0.058907 0.026344
IInd instar 3.02 3.20 3.13 0.069841 0.024693
IIIrd instar 4.93 5.23 5.10 0.201784 0.067261
IVth instar 7.14 7.69 7.41 0.180278 0.054356
Vth instar 9.45 9.88 9.63 0.156371 0.047147
VIth instar 12.24 12.39 12.33 0.061644 0.030822
Male 13.40 14.37 14.02 0.344306 0.153978
Female 17.13 18.96 18.04 0.556711 0.210417
n=10
Table 4: Total body length of different life stages of Mantis religiosa religiosa.
Stages Total body length (mm) Mean SD SEM
Minimum Maximum
Ist instar 5.3 5.5 5.42 0.066667 0.14110
IInd instar 11.3 11.7 11.13 0.446206 0.15930
IIIrd instar 18 18.7 18.23 0.246060 0.07781
IVth instar 25.8 26.1 25.90 0.138477 0.03840
Vth instar 34.9 36.2 35.7 0.454913 0.34497
VIth instar 46.8 49.36 45.59 0.526477 0.18613
Male 56.58 57.5 57.07 0.574749 0.25703
Female 70 71.8 70.98 0.625643 0.25541
n=10
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Journal of Entomology and Zoology Studies
Oviposition
1. The field collected female laid oothecae on the stick
placed in the cage after 4 days of collection. Some
oothecal material was adhered on the anal cerci of female
indicating that female already placed an ootheca before
collection. The first oviposition was observed at night of
25th March 2015 under laboratory conditions.
2. The ootheca was very soft and and cream colored when
freshly laid, and afterwards it got dried and hardened and
turned faint yellow (Image 10). After some days, its
colour changes to faint brown. The female lays nine
oothecae during rearing period at the interval of 6 to 9
days and with variable deposition time shows variation.
Most of the oothecae were deposited in early morning i.e.
6 am to 11 am. According to the total adult lifespan
calculated, mated females laid 12 to 18 oothecae. On the
provided twig in the cage, laying of ootheca was done
from downward to upward direction.
Hatching
The hatching of ootheca which was laid on 25th March 2015
was observed after 17 days in the morning hrs (6 am to 10
am). The hatching process lasted for one to one and half
hours. Next day some new but very few hatchlings were
observed. After that, the total number of eggs and hatching
percentage was recorded by dissecting the ootheca. About
60% eggs hatched out successfully, remaining eggs were
unable to hatch. James [7] reported 96% hatching in
December, 42% hatching in January and 44.3% in February.
Some nymphs hatched from eggs but they were unable to
escape from passage of exit of oothecal outer covering. As
Crosby [8] reported all nymphs were hatched out from ootheca
within a day. Hatching requires a period of several weeks in
some mantid species [9]. As above all the observations for rest
of oothecae were made. Last five oothecae remain unhatched.
Nymphal development
During the present study, all the developmental stages were
observed and 6 molts were observed with nymphal period 54
to 90 days.
1st instar: It is in pink to faint brick colored after hatching,
latter become dark brick colored and semitransparent. Mid
and hind legs are with black band at the joint of tibia and
tarsus. It measures about 5.42 mm with 1.54 mm pronotum
(Image 1). They are very active and feed on provided flies of
Drosophila spp. The first instar lasted for 6 to 8 days.
2nd instar: The second instar nymphs were very active, pale
green colored feeds on Drosophila spp. flies with mid-dorsal
faint line running from pronotum to abdominal tip. Femora of
hind and mid legs were pink to faint brick colored. Black
band which was present at tibia-tarsus joint is disappears. The
body length was 11.13 mm long with 3.13 mm pronotum
(Image 2). This stage lasted for 7 - 8 days.
3rd instar: The nymphs were very active, straw to green
colored with prominent mid-dorsal faint line running from
pronotum to abdominal tip. In straw colored nymph, legs are
faint and transparent where in green colored nymphs, femora
of hind and mid legs are pink to faint brick colored. The edge
of pronotum was lined by pink colored. It feeds on
Drosophila spp. flies as well as small nymphs of grasshopper
and crickets. The body length was 18.23 mm with 5.10 mm
pronotum (Image 3). It moults to the 4th instar within 7 - 10
days.
4th instar: It is green to straw colored, abdomen slender, coxa
of fore legs show transparent colored tubercles, fore femora
having yellow spot at caudal groove. Mid-dorsal line becomes
very prominent, femora of hind and mid legs was pink to faint
brick colored; edge of pronotum was lined by pink colour
ends in yellow colour. Wingbuds appeared in this stage. It
feeds on nymphs and adults of grasshopper and crickets. Body
length was 25.90 mm with 7.41 mm pronotum (Image 4). It
moults to the 5th instar within 8 - 12 days.
5th instar: It is mostly green to straw colored, abdomen
slender in male and broader in female, mid-dorsal line very
prominent; edge of pronotum lined by pink colored and ends
in yellow colour; coxae of fore legs show prominent white
colored tubercles, fore femora having yellow spot at caudal
groove, brick colored tinge of mid and hind leg femora
vanished and legs become semitransparent. Wingbuds are in
just growing stage reaches up to the 1st segment of abdomen.
Feeds on nymphs and adults of grasshopper and crickets.
Body length was 35.70 mm with 9.63 mm pronotum (Image
5). This stage lasted for 12-14 days.
6th instar: It is green to straw colored, mid-dorsal line very
prominent but light colored; coxa of fore legs show prominent
white colored tubercles, fore femora having yellow spot at
caudal groove, legs become semitransparent. Wingbuds are
full grown, reaches up to the 2nd segment of abdomen. Feeds
on nymph and adults of grasshoppers and crickets. Body
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Journal of Entomology and Zoology Studies
length was 45.59 mm long with 12.33 mm pronotum (Image
6). It moults to the adult within 14 - 18 days.
7th instar or Adult: Morphological features (Images 6 to 8)
of this species have given by Mukherjee et al. [1] and
Vyjayandi [2]. Body length (vertex to the abdominal tip) 56.2
mm to 63.3 mm for male and 68.44 mm for female. The head
was wide and triangular with globular compound eyes,
superior margin of frontal sclerite angular with flat carinae,
prozona slightly carinate and metazoan carinate. Pronotum
was elongated with supra-coxal dilation and indistinct mid-
longitudinal carina. The meso-sternum contains paired brown
blotches with tubercles. The femur of raptorial leg was with
spines viz. 4 discoidal (dark at the tip), 6 longer internal
(black except last) and 7 shorter internal (dark at the tip); claw
groove of femora yellow. In addition, femur was modified
with 4 external (dark at the tip) and tibia was with 7 external
and 11 internal spines (all dark at the tip). Coxae with
divergent internal apical lobes; internally callous spots or
tubercles, a black spot at the base which sometime encloses
an oval yellow spot; internal edge with 6 to 8 obtuse spines
and few spicules between them. Fore wing semi-hyaline in
female with elongate cream colored stigma mark. Anterior
margin of hind wing blackish, opaque near apex. Antennal
size was about 23 mm and 20 mm long in male and female
respectively.
Earlier studies on the biological and lifecycle study states that
average developmental period for male was 72 days and for
female 84 days [5]. Beeson [10] reported 8-9 moults and 70-110
days nymphal period in Hierodula ventralis in July to
October. Suckling [6] reported 6 molts and minimum of 11
week of nymphal developmental period in Orthodera
ministralis in Palmerston North, New Zealand climate. James
[7] mentioned brief observations on the biology of M. religiosa
religiosa, in which he focused on the egg survival, seasonal
life history and food habitats of nymphs and adults. His
observation lacks description of each developmental stage of
M. religiosa religiosa. Hideg [5] studied population cycles of
M. religiosa religiosa in outdoor and in laboratory conditions.
The adult male and female lived for 35-60 and 70-90 days
respectively. The total lifespan of male ranged from 89 to 150
days and for female 124 to 180 days. According to Hideg [5]
average lifespan of female was 165 days with maximum of
196 days; while in males, it was 110 and 176 days
respectively. This difference of number of instars and
lifecycle duration was due to the different climate and
environmental aspects.
Food: Generally, after hatching nymphs need some water,
therefore spraying of some amount of water was done which
didn’t wet the nymphs fully as they get trapped in water and
died. After hatching 1st instar nymphs drinks water then
become very active. They were provided with the diet of
Drosophila spp. flies. First two instars completely depended
on the diet of Drosophila spp. flies then after third instar they
fed on small nymphs of grasshopper and crickets along with
Drosophila spp. flies. Later in stars and adults fed mainly on
the diet of nymphs and adults of grasshopper and crickets.
When scarcity of food was there, they fed on other nymphs of
own species.
Mating: Mating in the praying mantids is very popular
phenomenon in which female devours male. The mating
behavior of praying mantids was very well studied in different
species. The observations on mating behaviour vary with the
species to species. With the reference of these observations
several hypothesis has been placed.
Liske and Davis [11] observed pre-copulatory behavior of male
who decreases the female aggression in Chinese mantis
Tenodera aridifolia. Birkhead et al. [12] mention the mating
behavior of Hierodula membranacea in which the male
grasps female which is invariably initiated from well outside
the females grasp. The male made their leap on to female
when the female not looking to male and distracted by
moment.
In M. religiosa religiosa, it was observed that the male
approaches towards the female mostly when she is engaged in
feeding. The pre-copulatory behavior of male was very
interesting that the male continuously observe the moments of
female and when female engaged in capturing the pray, male
immediately come near the female from behind not from
front. He carefully observes the approach of the female of his
presence and then he holds the female from the dorsal side by
grasping the pronotum with forelegs, i.e. leap. That leap i.e.
mating lasts for half an hour to almost for a day. On the
contrary, when the approach of female towards male is
aggressive, then pre-copulatory cannibalism was observed.
Cannibalism: The cannibalism in praying mantid is very well
known. Here, cannibalism behavior in the nymphal stage was
due to mostly scarcity of food. However, cannibalism was
observed among the nymphs even the availability of food was
plenty. This cannibalistic behaviour of nymphs is defending
behaviour.
The sexual cannibalism was observed when i) the female was
very hungry ii) the mating leap was not from perfectly dorsal
side of female i.e. the head of male come near the forelegs of
female as she can easily grasp the male and iii) mating lasted
for the long time, therefore the female get more time to catch
the male.
Colour morphs: M. religiosa religiosa shows colour
variation, it may be seasonal or environmental adaptations.
Here we observed most of brown or straw colored morphs in
summer season (February to June) along with some green
colored morphs (Images 6&7). Rest of duration shows mainly
green colored morphs (Image 6). Earlier studies on the
morphological changes in M. religiosa religiosa noticed that
the green form is always found upon green grass and the
brown form found upon dried straw colored grass; the green
form is sluggish and the brown form is more active. Such
colour morphs and behaviour protects mantids from the
enemies [13]. Also the sunlight, humidity and vegetation are
responsible for colour morphs. Battiston and Fontana [3]
observes that the hot sun, low humidity and intense light of
summer will increase the production of dried or brown ground
vegetation along with brown mantids and more moderate
temperatures stimulate higher humidity and low light intensity
promotes green vegetation and green morphs of mantids.
Krolik [14] also reported this species from Western Poland
with the both forms with their respective habitat. If the
environmental or seasonal aspects and protective behavior are
considered for the colour variation, here we observed the
colour variation from the same batch of M. religiosa religiosa
at the same environmental conditions. Also we observed the
green morphs in the dried grass and brown morphs on green
grass. According to the observations, those individuals
adapted to their respective habitat, the survival rate of such
individuals is more [1, 4].
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Journal of Entomology and Zoology Studies
Acknowledgement
The authors are grateful to University Grant Commission
(UGC) SAP Phase I, New Delhi for financial support during
work. The authors are also thankful to the Head, Department
of Zoology, Shivaji University, Kolhapur for laboratory
facilities.
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2. Vyjayandi MC. Mantid Fauna of Kerala. Zoological
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3. Battiston R, Fontana P. Colour change and habitat
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4. Hideg JI. An examination of population dynamics of
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10. Beeson CFC. The ecology and control of the forest
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Government of India press, New Delhi, 1941, 726-727.
11. Liske E, Davis WJ. Sexual behavior of the Chinese
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12. Birkhead TR, Lee KE, Young P. Sexual Cannibalism in
the Praying Mantis Hierodula membranacea. Behaviour.
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... They have a unique ability to rotate their heads in 180. Some reports have highlighted the prevalence of cannibalism during courtship in few species Raut and Gaikwad (2016) [4] ; Gelperin, 1968 [5] . Most of the species of mantids that have been studied are diurnal while the other few are nocturnal. ...
... They have a unique ability to rotate their heads in 180. Some reports have highlighted the prevalence of cannibalism during courtship in few species Raut and Gaikwad (2016) [4] ; Gelperin, 1968 [5] . Most of the species of mantids that have been studied are diurnal while the other few are nocturnal. ...
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A population of praying mantids Mantis religiosa L. was studied in a submontane habitat near Vicenza in Northern Italy. Sixtythree mantids were observed and studied in the field with the mark and recapture method to obtain ecological information about the coloration patterns, habitat preferences and strategies of this species. Additionally, a population of mantids was housed in artificial conditions to estimate the presence of colour changes in adults. A regular distribution of the coloration of the insects was found in the field during the changing of the season, and partial colour changes not linked to the substrate or the moult process were observed in artificial conditions. The basic structure of the preferred habitat of M. religiosa is described as a pattern of grassland and thorny bushes of the Rosaceae family.
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Adult and nymphal stages of the praying mantis, Orthodera ministralis (F.), successfully survived the 1983 winter outdoors in Auckland. Their survival was not correlated with the drier than normal winter. Nymphs overwintering were not disadvantaged, and 1 male, on reaching maturity, was observed mating with an overwintering female of the previous generation. Individuals moved no more than a few metres from their initial sites of discovery over a period of several months. Oothecae were produced by some overwintering females between August and October. Some adult females probably survived for at least 7 months. It is likely that mantids regularly survive winters unnoticed in the Auckland and Northland regions.
Article
We tested the idea that sexual cannibalism increases male and female fecundity in the mantid Hierodula membranacea. Two experiments were performed, in the first we maintained females on one of three nutritional planes; high medium or low. Food intake was positively and significantly associated with: maximum mass attained, the mass of first and subsequent oothecae, and the rate at which oothecae were produced. Ootheca mass was positively correlated with maximum female mass, and the number of young hatching from oothecae was positively correlated with ootheca mass. In the second experiment we maintained females on low diets and allowed some to eat the male during mating and prevented others from doing so. Females which ate the male produced significantly heavier oothecae than those which did not. The female's nutritional state influenced her likelihood of eating the male; well fed females rarely ate males. These results confirm that under certain food regimes male and female fecundity are increased by sexual cannibalism. However, our observations indicate that males do not sacrifice themselves at mating, but attempt to avoid being eaten, suggesting that while sexual cannibalism may be adaptive for females it is unlikely to be so for male H. membranacea.
Article
A comprehensive review of mantid taxonomy is attempted, including descriptions of taxa, various developmental stages, notes on habitat preference in relation to temperature, altitude, vegetation and other factors, and observations on offensive, defensive, prey capture and copulatory behaviour. Biological observations on mortality, colour pattern of various instars and their significance, oxygen consumption and data on morphometrics of some species are provided.The patterns of distribution within India and in relation to the Oriental Region and other zoogeographic regions is also discussed.A total of 162 species under 68 genera of mantids from India are listed, of which 118 species are studied and others reviewed from literature. Two new genera (Pseudothespis, Parananomantis) and ten new species (Acromantis nicobarica, Axaxarcha intermedia, Leptomantis nigrocoxata, Pseudothespis meghalayensis, Nanomantis lactea, Parananomantis brevis, Hierodula (H.) assamensis, H. (H.) beieri, H. (H.) nicobarica, and Mantis indica) are described. Haldwania liliputana is synonymized under Gonypetyllis semuncialis (n. syn.).
Article
Conducted a videotape analysis of 30 courtship sequences of the Chinese praying mantis, Tenodera aridifolia sinensis. An elaborate sequence of courtship displays was observed that was characterized by a male abdominal flexion display, which may inhibit female aggressiveness, and the extension of the forelimbs by the female, which may signal her sexual receptivity. Findings do not support previous reports of sexual cannibalism in the mantis. A single case of cannibalism was observed in which a food-deprived female ate a male that showed no sign of a sexual display. It is suggested that the previous reports may be an artifact of captivity or the female's nutritional state. (12 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Mantid Fauna of Kerala. Zoological Survey India, Occasional paper
  • M C Vyjayandi
Vyjayandi MC. Mantid Fauna of Kerala. Zoological Survey India, Occasional paper. 2007; 267:154.
An examination of population dynamics of Mantis religiosa
  • J I Hideg
Hideg JI. An examination of population dynamics of Mantis religiosa. Teacher Training and Science. 1992; 8:283-297.
The population cycle of Mantis religiosa in outdoor and in laboratory condition
  • J I Hideg
Hideg JI. The population cycle of Mantis religiosa in outdoor and in laboratory condition. Buletin de Informare Societatea Lepidopterologica Romana. 1995; 6(1-2):97-103.