Male and female praying mantises exhibit sexual dimorphism, which means that in addition to the difference in their sex organs, they look different from each other. As your mantis grows older there are a few ways to tell whether it is male or female.
If your mantis is female:
- She is usually larger and heavier than the male.
- Her abdomen will be larger (to provide space for her eggs).
- Her wings will not extend past her abdomen.
- She will have 6 abdominal segments.
- Her antennae will be thinner.
Female mantises occasionally consume the male after mating, and while they are very strong, their larger size makes it more difficult for them to fly.
If your mantis is male:
- He will typically be smaller and have a slimmer body.
- He will have larger "simple eyes" behind their compound eyes than females do.
- His wings will extend past his abdomen.
- He will have 8 abdominal segments.
- His antennae will be longer and thicker.
Male mantises are more active and fly more than female mantises. They need to be able to fly to stake out their territory and to find a mate.