Mantodea are rather large, elongate and slow-moving insects. Their front legs are greatly modified for grasping prey. Mantids have chewing mouthparts and unusually elongated prothorax. The wings are held over the back and overlap. Metamorphosis is simple.
They are predaceous on a large variety of insects and other arthropods. They usually wait motionless for their prey to venture within striking distance. Mantids are well known as biological control agents. However, they do not distinguish between useful and destructive species but feed on any insects that come near.
Mantids are usually found in foliage. They may be up to 4 inches long.