The mantis and the lizard: history of a conversery predation

Among the animals, predators have an undeniable charm. And today I want to talk to you of two tiny predators, widespread in many gardens: the praying mantis (Mantis religiosa) and the common wall lizard (Podarcis muralis).

Tha mantis is a very efficient predator. With its strong front legs, catching and devouring countless small insects. Mantis religiosa is usually a medium-sized mantis, with a total lenght that can reach also 8-9 cm.

Some tropical mantis can reach also 12 cm and more in lenght, while some species like the Ameles genus are tiny and very small.

The wall lizard is a reptile widely spread in Europe, that can reach a lenght of 20 cm. It likes to sunbathe on walls and rock gardens.

This lizard can feed on a wide rage of small invertebrates, and often very young praying mantises fall within its diet.

But... What if an adult mantis meets a young wall lizard?

Well, an adult female of mantis religiosa is perfectly able to hunt and eat also small vertebrates. This is certainly not a very common occurrence, but it can happen.

They were also reported attacks on small mammals, while in the US there was a mantis devouring even a hummingbird!

I observed several times the preying mantises hunt lizards and geckos, but on this occasion I was able to finally make some photography.

These shots are probably very crude, but I think they're also very interesting for those that study Natural History.

Andrea Mangoni

Andrea Mangoni Photography

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August 12, 2015


thanks Rajan!

August 12, 2015


Very well done. God bless

August 12, 2015


Hi Benjamin, well, we have many interesting species of insects here in italy, from mantises to beetles, or butterflies... but also uk has some jewels of natural history!

August 12, 2015


Great pictures. You get all the really cool insects and reptiles on the continent.

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Photo credits: Andrea Mangoni.