see mantis .
mantis |ˈmantis| (also praying mantis)
noun ( pl. same or -tises )
a slender predatory insect related to the cockroach. It waits motionless for prey with its large spiky forelegs folded like hands in prayer.
• Suborder Mantodea, order Dictyoptera: Mantidae and other families, and many species, including Mantis religiosa, introduced to America from southern Europe and now found commonly in the northeastern U.S.
ORIGIN mid 17th cent.: modern Latin, from Greek, literally ‘prophet.’