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Mantodea (mantids, praying mantises; class Insecta, subclass Pterygota) Order of medium to large, terrestrial insects which are predacious, having large, raptorial forelegs used for seizing their insect prey. The prothorax is usually narrow and elongate, and the head is typically triangular and freely movable on a slender neck. The mantids are exopterygote but the wing buds do not reverse their orientation in later instars. The fore wings are narrow, and may be hardened as tegmina. The females of many species have reduced wings. Eggs are laid in an ootheca. About 1800 species of mantids have been described, and are found in the warmer regions of the world.