Four families of mantises (mantids), housing around 117 species in Australia, the largest family being the Mantidae. Species vary greatly in size, from 10mm to around 120mm, but all characterised by forelimbs held forward in ‘praying’ pose, each having tibia adorned with either one or two rows of spines. All species predatory, using large eyes and mobile head to locate prey before seizing it with forelimbs and using mandibulate mouthparts to consume victim. hindwings membranous, concealed when not in use under under hardened forewings. Most hunt on vegetation. Eggs laid in masses, protected within hardened foam case called an ootheca.