Nun is the popular name of Mantodea insects, the Manteidae family, the genus Mantis, which includes about 2000 species, most of them torpical and subtropical species. Mantis in Greek means prophet.
This name is given after the position of the first pair of Appendices. Easy to care for and most commonly found in terrains are: Chinese nun, originating in China, introduced in North America around 1895, the European Mountaineer and the Carolingian Mother.
The nun leaves in meadows, steppes, at the forests. As spreading grounds, nuns are found in Europe, Asia, to Siberia and the Far East, Africa. The species was introduced in North America and Australia.
The nun’s food is other insects, such as crickets, mackerels, locusts, flies, and even cockroaches.
The head of the nun is triangular, very mobile, being the only insect to move its head 180 degrees. The mouthpiece is masticatory. It presents two antennas that are filiform. The legs are well developed, the earlier ones have thorns.
The earlier wings are narrow, weakly parchmentous, and the posterior, membranous, resting ones are below the previous ones.
The elongated abdomen, formed by segments, ends with two short and articulated circles. The body is usually green, but can also be yellow or brown. Some species reach up to 15 cm.
Nuns grow through incomplete metamorphosis. Immediately after fertilization, the female lays 50 to 400 eggs. The female deposits eggs even if it has not been fertilized. The eggs are surrounded by a frothy mass, which then becomes consistency, forming a chitinous capsule called the oath.
Larvae hatch from the pond in the coming spring and differ from adults both in size and in some morphological particularities. After four or six shipments (depending on the species) the larva turns into an adult insect.
At maturity, in freedom, there are only 4-5 larvae. That’s why if you want to buy a nun, it’s good to buy from a breeder or order from the internet from verified sources, which are endangered species.
Both adults and larvae are specialized predators, consuming only certain species of insects. During mating, she devours her partner, ensuring perpetuation of the species.
The threat of death does not cut their sexual appetite for males, who in the decapitation type cope more vigorously, because of the nervous reflex triggered by the act of cannibalism. The average life of a nun is two years in captivity. Those in freedom usually die in winter.
Gender determination is made by segments on the abdomen, so a female has 5-6 segments and a male 7-8 segments. Another criterion for determination would be the shape of the abdomen, which in females is more round.
The nun is also famous for decimating harmful insects.