The Praying Mantis And The Giant Hornet, Mortal Enemies

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Most of us know that the praying mantis is a voracious predator.  It preys on all kinds of insects, many of which are even larger that itself.  Sometimes large mantids are able to capture and devour small mice, birds, frogs, spiders, and even scorpions.  However, there is one insect that has come to stand out as a natural nemesis of the praying mantis, a supreme Japanese warrior, the Giant Hornet.

Although the praying mantis may be slightly longer than the 2-inch hornet, the giant hornet of Japan boasts a more robust and powerful build.  With its imposing presence, 3 inch wingspan, and overly aggressive and fearless nature, the giant hornet is an NFL offensive tackle compared to the leaner and lighter praying mantis, who even with its quick-snatching spiny forelegs, can easily shrink and flee from confrontations with this beast.

As an apex predator, the giant hornet has weaponry that puts it at a fighting advantage over the mantis.  Its steel-like jaws crushes and opponents like twigs.  With a near ¼ inch stinger that can dart out multiple times, it can paralyze its victims in seconds. The stinger is so potent, in fact, that it can kill a human if stung enough times!  The thick, tank-like exoskeleton of the giant hornet can even withstand a foreleg strike from the mantis.

 Of course, in addition, the hornet's unrelenting air attack, with steady hovering skills can create havoc for its prey and if it tries to flee, the hornet has a top speed of around 25 miles per hour!  That means even a world class sprinter could not escape the wrath of the giant hornet.  Just a few of these raging killing machines can wipe out a whole nest of honey bees in a short span of time without breaking a sweat!

There have been video documentation of such confrontations with mantids, where the more powerful and aggressive giant hornet can wriggle free of the grasp of the praying mantis and impose its will and eventually decapitate and devour the mantis.  There are not many insects that are able to free themselves once in the death hold of the mantis' powerful forelegs.  This makes the giant hornet a supreme natural hunter of the praying mantis.

I am a big fan of the praying mantis and it is sad to see these videos of the mantis being beaten by an overly aggressive hornet.  The only species of mantis that may be equipped enough to match a giant hornet is the African Praying Mantis, with its naturally more aggressive nature, tougher exterior, and larger and stronger spiny forelegs. 

I hope this has enlightened you about the unpredictable nature of the insect world.  I will be posting more articles in the months to come, so in the meantime, thanks for reading!

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