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Slaying Mantis

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"The fiercest hunters in the Tangle don't seek out the mantises. They are the mantises."

"Cave Johnson here. The mantis men have officially taken over the building! If you can get out, get out now! OH GOD, THEY'RE BREAKING THROUGH THE BARRICADES!"

In fiction, mantises occupy an unusual position relative to their fellow arthropods. They can't match the universal positive connotations of Pretty Butterflies or Virtuous Bees, but they're not necessarily frightening like spiders and scorpions, centipedes, or moths, and certainly not disgusting like cockroaches or flies.

Rather, mantises are often portrayed as the badasses of the insect kingdom. With their distinctive combat-ready stance and stock-still poise, they can easily be made to evoke martial artists — in fact, there's more than one kung fu style themed on the mantis, as mentioned in the Real Life section below. Naturally, in a world of Talking Insects, expect the mantis to fill the role of an Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy or a Master Swordsman or such, if not a full race of proud warriors. On the more negative side, the mantis might also be rendered as an Ax-Crazy Blood Knight due to the murderous spiky appearance of its raptorial forelegs. And, of course, female mantises may draw on the expected stereotype of devouring their partners after mating (this doesn't occur every time in real life, but it's been observed among nearly all predatory mantis species because mantises simply tend to catch and eat anything smaller than them when hungry — and the male is typically smaller than the female). This provides an alternative way for a writer to use the Black Widow trope while leaving spiders or spider-motif characters free for other purposes.

All of these uses of the mantis can get extra personality mileage out of its upright posture and expressive "arms", making it one of the easiest insects to anthropomorphize. That's not to say you won't find some Big Creepy-Crawlies takes on the mantis as well, since it makes for a great dinosaur-like predator in a story with fifty-foot insects running around.

No matter which kind of mantis you're encountering, if it strays in the least from strict realism, expect its forelegs to be depicted as having scythe-like blades in fulfillment of the Rule of Cool; having such blades would actually make the forelegs useless for a real mantis, as the purpose of their raptorial design is to grasp prey, not slice it to pieces (which in itself is a feat requiring Absurdly Sharp Claws).note 

As mentioned above, mantises also make a great substitute for spiders. After all, Spiders Are Scary, but they're also pretty cliche, and not as malicious as usually portrayed. Thus, a mantis can be used to make a somewhat more unique killer bug villain.

Often a case of Lean and Mean, if the mantis is a villain. Green and Mean is also common, although they do come in different colors.

Not to be confused with The Deadly Mantis, though that film obviously stars a Slaying Mantis, specifically of the Big Creepy-Crawlies variety.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Berserk: Rosine's minions are all some kind of Big Creepy-Crawlies. Guts slaughters them by the dozen, but almost finds his match when facing Rosine's two Elite Mooks. One of them is a huge rhinoceros beetle and the other one a lightning fast praying mantis. They are also considerably skillful fighters due to the fact that (at least according to the mantis) they used to be knights, whereas the insect mooks were mooks even before they transformed into monsters. He deals with them by shooting one with his Arm Cannon and using the momentum to smash his sword into the other.
  • Black Clover: Jack the Ripper is the leader of the Green Praying Mantises and looks the part with his thin body, green clothing, and magic that forms scythe blades on his forearms. He's also a bloodthirsty fighter who wants to slice strong opponents, allies or not.
  • Bleach: Nnoitra Gilga is an insane, misogynistic Blood Knight who can turn into a multi-armed, shell-covered One-Winged Angel form based off a mantis equipped with multiple scythes. His release phase is even "Pray, Santa Teresa [Praying Mantis]!"
  • Brave10: Iga Ninja Kayou can summon insects and bugs to do her bidding: one of her techniques summons an army of a thousands large mantises and unleash them on her foes.
  • Inuyasha: There's a nightmarish mantis Yōkai that feeds on women's innards and then wears their skins. She's offed by Miroku, but manages to cut his Kazaana open, putting him in danger.
  • Jōjū Senjin!! Mushibugyō: the ninth giant insect introduced in the manga is the "Rumbling Blade Praying Mantis", a truly humongous mantis monster with oversized legs, scythe-like fangs and a reptilian head. Her handler uses a special flute to make her attack a series of banks to perform robberies.
  • One Piece: There are giant mantises with very sharp claws on Jaya island. Later. a similar mantis with blades instead of legs is seen among the monsters in Impel Down. Last but not least, the Tenth Movie has Don Kamakiriri, a foul-tempered mantis capable of taking down a gargantuan octopus with ease.
  • Slayers: A bunch of mantis-like bugmen appear in season 1, among Rezo's beastmen. Little characterization is given beyond "big creepy crawlies".
  • Yaiba: The Mantis Man appears as one of Onimaru's minions. Subverted later when he's revealed to be a goofy Punch-Clock Villain.

    Card Games 
  • Magic: The Gathering: Powerful, dangerous mantises and mantis-like creatures have appeared at several points in the game:
    • The Fallen Empires has the Thelonite Monk, a green Cleric creature that can sacrifice a fellow Green-aligned creature to turn a land into a forest and which, for some reason, is a giant mantis in a red robe. None of the other Thelonite cards in the game are giant mantises, as "Thelonite" is apparently the name of an order, not a race.
    • The Jeskai of Tarkir have mantis riders who take a considerable risk of being eaten every time they ride their insectoid mounts.
      Mantis riders know their mounts owe them no allegiance. Even a mantis ridden for years would consume a rider who loses focus for only a moment.
      —Mantis Rider Flavor Text
    • The Tangle, a trackless forest of copper-leaved plants found on the bio-metallic world Mirrodin, is home to a lot of dangerous predators, but the giant mantises that live there are noted to be the fiercest of them all.
    • The joke set Unstable introduced a card called Slaying Mantis, which must be thrown into play by its controller. While the art does show it as an anthropomorphic insect, its aesthetic is decidedly different from typical examples.

    Films — Animation 
  • Coraline: Double subverted. The Other Father rides around on a giant clockwork mantis a couple of times, and far from being threatening, it's treated as pretty and whimsical. Unfortunately, since the Other World is actually a trap set by the Other Mother to ensnare Coraline and eat her soul, she's quick to turn this against Coraline and the Other Father (who is essentially her slave) once Coraline realizes what's really happening. The result is the poor Other Father being strapped to the mantis and forced to chase after Coraline so that he can kill her.
  • Kung Fu Panda: One member of the Furious Five is a mantis who's very powerful despite being the size of, well, a mantis.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Alita: Battle Angel: Cyborg Serial Killer Nyssiana has scythe-like robotic arms that are shaped like the forelegs of a mantis.
  • Attack of the Clones: The Acklay is a deadly alien creature that looks like a cross between a crab and a mantis, with some reptilian features thrown in, that is used by the alien Geonosians to execute prisoners in their arena.
  • The Deadly Mantis features a giant, prehistoric mantis. There's also a brief monologue about how mantises are, for their size, the deadliest and most ferocious hunters in the animal kingdom.
  • Godzilla:
    • Son of Godzilla introduces Kamacuras (also known as Gimantis in a bad English dub) into the Godzilla franchise. Already giant prehistoric preying mantises they get mutated by radiation to grow even larger. However, while they do pose a serious threat to the humans and even Minya, Godzilla manages to take them out very easily. Kamacuras appears in Godzilla: Final Wars where it now has a chameleon like camouflage ability and puts up a better fight but is still killed by Godzilla without much effort.
    • Godzilla (2014) has the MUTO, somewhat mantis-like prehistoric parasitoids that are a natural enemy of Godzilla's species. They have a pair of large hooked forelimbs which to snag Godzilla's vulnerable gills with, a smaller pair of manipulator arms, and the female is twice the male's size but lacks wings.
  • Goosebumps (2015) features the giant mantis from A Shocker on Shock Street. Unlike its book counterpart, however, this mantis is much more deadly: it's fifty feet tall, looks more like a real mantis, is not a robot, and can fly! It still retains its spitting ability, however.
  • The Mist a giant mantis-esque creature among of the other monsters. It kills people by snatching them with a claw and snapping them in half.
  • The Star Wars franchise has the Yam'rii, an alien species that look like humanoid mantises. Originally a hard-to-spot background character in the cantina scene in A New Hope known only as "Praying Mantis", the Star Wars Customizable Card Game eventually fleshed out the species in its flavour text, describing them as super-strong predators who are quick to anger. Notably, the game's only Yam'rii character has a Power of 8 - higher than nearly every other non-vehicle/starship card in the game.

  • Golden Dragon Fantasy Gamebooks: Eye of the Dragon has Lord Mantiss, an insectoid nobleman. Easily offended and quite powerful, he's quite capable of inflicting a Non Standard Game Over but can also kill you with a Critical Hit during normal combat.
  • Lone Wolf: At the end of the first World of Lone Wolf book, Grey Star the Wizard, the title protagonist has to escape from a whole nest of man-sized, agressive, acid-spitting mantises.
  • Sorcery!: In the second gamebook, Kharé — Cityport of Traps, depending on your route through the city you can end up facing off against a Mantis Man, a humanoid with mantis style arms. While not particularly skilled in combat, it had around a 28% chance of instantly killing you every combat round by catching you with its arms and tearing your throat out with its jaws. As this fight would, even with the best possible results and rolls, last a minimum of two combat rounds this encounter was often lethal. It could however be circumvented with the correct spell, but mishandling the encounter could also result in instant death.

  • Chess With A Dragon: There's a mantis-like species of hermaphroditic sadomasochist cannibals.
  • Discworld: The Assassins' Guild School has gone co-educational and now teaches young ladies how to inhume with style and grace. One of the all-female houses of study, supervised by Miss Alice Band, is variably described as Tump House and as Mantis House depending which side of the continuity error you're on. It evokes The Vamp stereotype.
  • The Dresden Files: One of the Denarians, Tessa, has a mantis-like alternate form. She's up for whatever causes the maximum amount of chaos and suffering for humanity.
  • "The Empire Of Tang Lang", by Alan Dean Foster, plays the standard mantis tropes to the hilt: T'Ang Lang is an actual normal-sized mantis ("t'ang lang" being Chinese for "mantis") in a world where insects apparently can all to some extent think; T'ang Lang is a deadly killer whose every movement is done in a ritualistic fashion ("The Rite of Clean Knives followed"; "Then he assumed the Ben-na, the position of contemplation"), and who spends his time between kills contemplating the mysteries of existence.
  • Godzilla 2000 includes a swarm of Kamacuras, mantis-based kaiju, created (in this case) when a normal mantis was exposed to a parasitic alien DNA and the infection spread to other mantises after the original attracted a mate. The swarm proceeds to devour everything and anyone in their path; fortunately, they're comparatively weak to conventional planes and tanks, even after growing wings, but their numbers make up for it. And then a second swarm appears in South America. A year later, the original swarm's depredations on the fields of Kansas are still having an effect on the economy and food supply.
  • InCryptid: The parallel dimension that Calculated Risks takes place in is home to several varieties of Big Creepy-Crawlies, including giant mantises that the local sapient lifeforms ride.
  • My Family and Other Animals: Gerald Durrell tells of a huge (over four inches long) specimen of mantis he names Chervil, and keeps her in a box because he wants to see her give birth... sadly this does not happen, as Chervil escapes and meets Geronimo, a large gecko that hunts for bugs in Gerard's room, and in the ensuing battle Geronimo loses his tail but bites Chervil in half, killing her on the spot.
  • On a Pale Horse: Zane is confronted by a "preying" mantis — a demon in the shape of a praying mantis. It's a Living Motion Detector as well as a deadly killer.
  • Perdido Street Station: The reMade rebel/terrorist Jack Half-A-Prayer was an escaped criminal whose arm had been replaced with a giant mantis claw. A militia spy he kills is found with the claw's pincer-marks on both sides of her neck.
  • The Prism Pentad: K'Kriq is a thri-keen, a four-armed mantis man, who can resist mind attacks and even magical fireballs. Unlike other examples, he hasn't got "scythe-like arms".
  • R. L. Stine:
  • Shadows of the Apt: In a world where humanity evolved alongside Big Creepy-Crawlies and emulated them for power, those who mimicked the (gigantic, man-eating) praying mantises of the deep forests naturally developed into a race of stone-cold, badass warriors single-mindlessly obsessed with battle and death.
  • Spellsinger: The Plated Folk are ruled by a praying mantis queen. She routinely eats courtiers who offend her, fail her, or simply can't get out of her way fast enough when she gets upset.
  • Uprooted: The monsters native to the Wood include immense mantises, which normally never leave the forest and instead act as internal guardians. They're much stronger and more dangerous than its more common beasts, and after the source of the corruption is cleansed they're implied to remain hostile.
  • Eat Them Alive is a very violent horror novel about giant praying mantises who eat people in excruciating detail.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The She-Mantis in "Teacher's Pet" wants to lay its eggs on Xander and another boy with the indication the babies will probably eat them after hatching.
  • Babylon 5: The first season has the crime boss N'Grath in Downbelow, who is an Insectoid Alien resembling a praying mantis.
  • Criminal Minds: "The Inspiration" uses mantids quite creepily. The killer begins hallucinating that the girl who rejected him "ate" him, and develops an obsession with mantises because of their alleged sexual cannibalism; one of his delusions is actually of the girl speaking (though she was the first person he killed and he was forcing his other victims to eat parts of her head and mantises coming out of her mouth. He also keeps a pet one and tries to feed a baby snake to it.
  • The Haunting Hour: Swarmin' Norman features a normal-sized mantis named "Manny", who can actually hiss, as the Big Bad. He commands an army of insects, and at first is on good terms with the titular protagonist. However, when Norman goes back on his word about not hurting bugs, Manny turns on him and successfully engulfs Norman in a swarm of cockroaches. The final scene is Manny lashing his claws out at the audience, as the narrator explains how easily insects could overpower humans if they so desired.
  • Kamen Rider: Any mantis-themed Rider or monster fall under this. The most notable examples are KamenRiderChalice, and by extension the Mantis Undead, and Kamen Rider OOO himself, whenever he uses the Kamakiri Body Medal, which grants him a pair of Reverse Grip Sinister Scythe. Chalice himself gets twin scythes in his Super Mode, also mantis-themed.
  • Power Rangers: Both the original Super Sentai versions and the adaptation have featured mantis monsters, who tend to be pretty ferocious. U.S.-only versions include:
    • Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers: Season 1's "Zyu2" footage features a monster simply called "Mantis", who's extremely skilled in Praying Mantis Kung Fu. Trini is forced to learn praying mantis kung fu to defeat him one-on-one.
    • Power Rangers: Beast Morphers: Beast Morphers Gold is infused with mantis DNA (this is an Adaptation Species Change from Beet Buster, who was instead based on a rhinoceros beetle), and proves pretty skilled right off the bat.
  • Monster Warriors:
    • "Marauding Mantis": While the Monster Warriors battle a herd of giant praying mantis, Luke finds himself strangely bothered by Tabby’s friendship with her good-looking student council co-president.
    • A giant praying mantis is one of the monsters brought to life in "Terror at the Drive-In".
  • Primeval: Subverted. The Megopterans certainly look and act the part of this trope, but according to the official site, they're descended from beetles. The characters themselves, meanwhile, say that they're actually highly evolved ants.

    Pro Wrestling 

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • Giant mantises are twelve feet tall and have ten hit dice (ten to eighty Hit Points). They can grab prey and hold it helpless, damaging it every combat round until death. They can also camouflage themselves in order to perform ambush attacks.
    • The thri-kreen ("mantis warriors") are a race of social insectoids who resemble a mantis with grasshopper-like legsnote , with a culture that can be summed up as a cross between humanoid nomads and a wolf pack. Favoring arid regions, they originated in the Forgotten Realms setting, but became an iconic race for the Dark Sun setting when it debuted thirteen years later, as they were Promoted to Playable in that setting. Unlike most mantis-people, they lack the iconic scythe-like armsnote , but instead are Multi-Armed and Dangerous, with two pairs of human-like arms that they can use in natural synch, favoring barrages of bladed crystal throwing stars for ranged weapons and Dual Wielding a pair of double-ended bladed tridents in melee. Other oddities include paralytic venom they can deliver by biting, spectacular leaping abilities, and a racial affinity for Psychic Powers. Whilst not a true Hive Mind, they also do maintain a Genetic Memory; this allows their young to know intuitively how to function as an adult from hatching — "childrearing" for thri-kreen is more a matter of polishing social skills and providing skill refinement than anything.
    • Anchôromé, a subsetting for the Forgotten Realms, features a land where thri-kreen are the dominate race — it actually differentiates that these thri-kreen descend from kreen ported in from Athas, whereas their counterparts from the Shaar are the feral descendants of stranded Spelljammers. Anchorome's thri-kreen consist of thri-kreen (traditional nomads), tohr-kreen (settled kreen, culturally driven to mine deep crystal caverns), zik-chil (fleshwarping mystics who think the tohr-kreen are being manipulated), apleurus (a rare and xenophobic subspecies who have developed the power to change into living sand), smaragtin (aquatic thri-kreen engineered by the zik-chil), and ulyssies (forest and mountain-adapted scouts engineered by the zik-chil). Weirdly, only the zik-chil are non-playable.
    • Dark Sun is especially associated with the thri-kreen, and is also home to several other species of humanoid mantises such as the trin, which are believed to be ancestors of, or at least closely related to, the thri-kreen. Not as intelligent as their cousins, but still smarter than mere animals. They hunt in pack and are even faster and stronger than thri-kreen, and have the typical scythe-like arms used to crush their prey — the fact they only have one pair of arms and two pairs of legs is as much a defining feature as the presence of scythes for distinguishing them from thri-kreen. It's also home to the mysterious zik-chil, who practice Biomanipulation, and the zik-trin; kreen subjected to zik-chil Biomanipulation to make them into biological drones, and divided into the zik-trin'ta (scouts) and zik-trin'ak (warriors).
    • Dark Sun also establishes that the true name of the thri-kreen is actually just "kreen"; "thri" is a prefix designating a tribal or nomadic kreen, but there are also civilized, settlement-building kreen distinguished by the prefix "tohr" (or "tohr-kreen" in full). It likewise divides the kreen into six subspecies; To'ksa and Jerals are virtually indistinguishable and represent the "common" thri-kreen and tohr-kreen respectively, whilst the remaining four received only the barest of details. J'ez are black-colored, warlike, and favor rocky environments. Jerals are the most physically human-like of the kreen and distinguished by their reddish-pink chitin. T'keech are green and adapted to moist environments that the other kreen can't handle. Tondi are a exclusively female subspecies who reproduce through parthenogenesis and who physically resemble orchid mantises.
    • Spelljammer is home the Xixchil, an Insectoid Aliens species of humanoid praying mantises whose racial hat is Mad Doctor; they have a religion that is essentially a form of transhumanism, believing that the body is the "house" of the soul and, as such, it is the duty of an individual to customize and tailor their body to better express their soul's inner nature. Modifications range from completely aesthetic, such as embedding gemstones or inlaying precious metal into their carapace, to fully functional, such as implanting concealed daggers and dart-throwers. They're even capable of completely changing an individual's biological sex. Unlike thri-kreen, they do have bladed limbs, as well as an ability to produce venom, which they can tailor to an individual's biology to make it function as a paralytic, anesthetic, or deadly neurotoxin. Which makes them natural surgeons and assassins. However, they don't share the aesthetic senses of the demihuman races, and because they believe that form follows function, this often leads to problems when others request their surgical talents. In contrast to thri-kreen, xixchil are also characterized as extremely individualistic, with a Social Darwinist attitude. Many fans speculate that the zik-chil of Athas are stranded and possibly devolved xixchil. They received an "Ecology of the Xixchil" article in Dragon #266.
    • A Spelljammer adventure anthology called "Skull & Crossbones" establishes that there is an entire empire of spelljamming thri-kreen somewhere out in Wildspace, and the thri-kreen of the Shaar in the Forgotten Realms are their barbarian descendants via a crashed spelljammer.
  • Hollow Earth Expedition supplement Mysteries of the Hollow Earth. The Hollow Earth has giant mantises the size of a large horse. They will attack any creature up to their own size, lashing out with their forelegs at blinding speed. The Half-Human Hybrid Mantismen are human-sized and fully sapient; and have even developed their own martial art.
  • It Came From The Late Late Show. The Giant Mantis Monster is 200 feet long and can bite, crush and stomp hapless Cast Members. After being awakened in the Arctic by atomic testing they make their way to civilization to begin rampaging.
  • The Ladybug Game features a character known as the Mighty Mantis as the villain.
  • Pathfinder:
    • Giant mantises are extremely deadly, stealthy and efficient predators — some of the deadliest vermin-class creatures around, in fact — and have gained fearsome in-universe reputations. People who live alongside these giant insects fear them deeply, and believe any number of myths about them — that they can make themselves invisible, that they can smell fear, that they devour the souls of those they eat... And the really big ones (called Deadly Mantises) are able to kill and eat giants and dragons. There are even assassin societies that have taken to worshiping them as gods of sorts and emulate them in their fighting styles.
    • The mantis god Achaekek is the pantheon's resident assassin and the divine patron of all Professional Killers of the setting, particularly of the universally-feared Red Mantis guild that worships him.
    • Weremantises are deadly and Lawful Evil killers whose interactions with society are often limited to brief but passionate trysts that often end with the weremantis killing their lover. The example weremantis in Bestiary 6 is also classed as a monk, mirroring mantises' associations with deadly martial artists.
  • Rifts: The Northern Gun 2 sourcebook has a suit of Powered Armor called the Mantis, which invokes the image with a pair of giant vibro-swords that fold out against the forearms of the suit. It is designed to take out Humongous Mecha. Not by destroying them, but by using its blades and Shoulder Cannons to wreck their weapons, sensors and motive systems, leaving them blind, crippled and unarmed in the middle of the battlefield while it seeks a new target.
  • Shadowrun:
    • Mantis spirits are far from pleasant (although they're not really evil, but just have a really weird mindset), as they share other bug spirits' need to possess human victims in order to perpetuate their kind. The fact they prefer to prey on other kinds of bug spirits makes them occasional allies-of-convenience for Ares and others campaigning against the bugs, however.
    • There's also the Wyrd Mantis, which is "just" a giant Awakened species of mantis. They are nevertheless extremely deadly.
  • Warhammer 40,000:
    • The Mantis Warriors are a chapter of Space Marines with a curious mutation that gives them supremely enhanced reflexes, but at the cost of irreversible tunnel vision.
    • The Lictor is a stealthy Tyranid unit with massive mantis-like claws, whose purpose is to infiltrate enemy territory and spread chaos, death and terror.

  • Beast Wars has a toy named Manterror (aka the Man Terror) that's a praying mantis. His arms can launch buzz saws.
    • Takadox is mantis-like post-Pit Mutagen change, as his design was based on the mantis shrimp.
    • Krika, one of the most sympathetic villains in the franchise, resembles a giant, skeletal mantis. His appearance distinguishes him from his less-sympathetic cohorts, who are based on a beetle and a mosquito.
    • Metru Mantis are giant mantis-like Rahinote . The good news is that they're one of the few creatures that prey on Visorak, making them one of your few hopes if the Visorak hordes invade your island.
    • Nidhiki was once a Toa of Air who was mutated into an insect-like monster by Roodaka when he became a Dark Hunter. Said insectoid appearance resembles a giant praying mantis with Power Pincers.

    Video Games 
  • Age of Wonders: Planetfall: Hopperhounds are an invasive species of aggressively predatory insects that can be found on almost every planet. They resemble a mix of mantis and grasshopper, combining scything claws with the ability to jump well enough to attack aircraft in flight.
  • Avernum: Chitrachs are a whole race of monstrous inects resembling human-sized, yellowish predatory insects similar to mantises, including large scything forelimbs. They invaded Avernum from the Vanhatai Lands below, and are noted for being infestant and annoyingly dangerous in combat.
  • Bug!: Mantises are shown as psychotic murderers that go into a crazed slashing frenzy as soon as Bug gets near them, making them hard to defeat without taking damage, and they also have a very good amount of health to boot. Thankfully, they're only encountered at the tail end of Insectia Scene 3.
  • Bug Fables: The mantis siblings Maki and Kina form one of the best explorer teams in the Association, and are very powerful warriors, with Maki always being sent by the Queen on the most dangerous missions. And their Optional Boss fight is one of the hardest boss fights in the game. Of the lesser variety, Acolyte Aria is a hooded mantis who, in spite of her delicate looks, is a fierce combatant who managed to thwart the Wasp invasion in the Golden Settlement and displays impressive fighting skills during her boss fight in the final festival ceremony, and mantis ruffians also appear as some of the stronger enemies in the Rubber Prison in Chapter 6.
  • Fallout: New Vegas: Giant Mantis's are a common enemy found in Vault 22, and in Zion Valley. Fortunately they are very fragile, and go down easily.
  • Fallout 4: Far Harbor has the Fog Crawlers, giant amphibious monsters mutated by the sheer amount of radiation in the oceans that rolls onto the island through the fog, distinguished by their long, scythe-like arms and by being the most powerful monsters on the island. While they resemble mantis they have elements of shrimp, implying that they descend from mutated mantis shrimp.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • Final Fantasy II: Mantis and King Mantis are two powerful monsters.
    • Final Fantasy VI has the Greater Mantis/Mantodea. Despite being a regular enemy, it has an incredible amount of attack power, the highest of any mook and more than twice as much as the final boss, being able to kill most characters in one hit unless they're overleveled.
  • Final Fantasy XII has several of them, mostly in areas accessible later in the game. One variant eats Chocobos to power itself up. Other variants eat each other instead.
  • Freedom Planet features a robotic mantis as a boss, complete with regenerating forelimbs.
  • FTL: Faster Than Light: The Mantis are a race of ferocious Insectoid Aliens who travel through space in red-hulled spaceships looking for prey. Their arms (and acid spit) let them deal more damage in close range combat, but also make them lousy repairmen, which is why they tend to make use of Engi slave labour.
  • Hollow Knight has the mantis tribe, an isolated tribe of Proud Warrior Race Guys who respect strength above all and will attack the Knight on sight. After it proves itself by defeating their three leaders, the entire tribe will become non-hostile towards it and bow respectfully at its approach. There's also a separate group of Mantises encountered later in the game who were cast out after attempting to rebel against the tribe and subsequently went insane after willingly falling to the plague.
  • The House of the Dead: OVERKILL: The Creeper is a mantis-like mutant, whose scythe-like arms can easily slice steel. The arms are also his Achilles' Heel.
  • Into the Breach:
    • The Vek come in many insectoid forms, including giant mantises that leap around the battlefield and trap their targets in Projectile Webbing.
    • On your side, Kazaaakpleth, a mantis from FTL: Faster Than Light appears as a cameo pilot. Just like in FTL, where mantises are terrifying attackers but poor repairmen, he trades the normal repair ability for a highly damaging melee attack.
  • Kouchuu Ouja Mushiking: A mantis can be summoned by winning with the special skill Card "Special Skills Stopper". When it's on the field, it negates the opponent from summoning anything for once.
  • League of Legends: Kha'Zix is a man-sized intelligent interdimensional winged mantis monster with an obsession for hunting prey, consuming it and evolving himself to become more deadly.
  • Let's Go Jungle: There's a giant mantis as a boss at the end of the Temple Level. Unlike many examples its claws aren't very sharp.
  • Lost Planet: one of the primary enemy types is an Akrid that resembles a giant praying mantis full of glowy orange T-Eng. They come in an even larger, deadlier variety that is best fought in a Humongous Mecha. A yet larger variant serves as a Boss Battle.
  • Mega Man: Dark Mantis and Deathtanz Mantisk from the Mega Man X and Mega Man Zero series respectively, they both use a series of quick attacks with their bladed extremities, and both curiously had law related jobs before became mavericks (Dark Mantis was a prison guard, and Deathtanz Mantisk was an executioner, but he isn't exactly thrilled with the job note ), however, by the time you come to face them, they are far from being cooperative.
  • Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate: One such creature turns out to be the creature behind the "giant monster" steamrolling over civilizations: Ahtal-Ka, a golden mantis that steals architecture and machinery from hunter societies and binds them with its silk to create a walking fortress. It is the final boss of the G Rank Hub quests and the only Neopteron to be an Elder Dragon-level threat.
  • Monster Sanctuary has Blade Widow, a giant mantis that learns a lot of attacks that involve slashing.
  • Mother 3: Parodied. Praying mantises can be encountered in Sunshine Forest starting from Chapter 4, but since they're completely ordinary praying mantises, they do about as much damage to your party as you'd expect from a bug. Their description in the Battle Memory points out it's a good thing they're not Big Creepy-Crawlies.
  • Ori and the Will of the Wisps has giant mantises that periodically jump and try to pounce on Ori, with Underground Monkey variants that jump more frequently and/or produce a Shockwave Stomp.
  • Phantasy Star Online 2 has the Dicahda and its larger cousin, the Predicahda. They hit fast and hard, and are capable of doing a Flash Step to instantly reach their targets from virtually any distance, which makes them among the most threatening enemies overall.
  • Pokémon:
  • Portal 2: Implied by Cave Johnson's messages over the intercom. The test subjects are told that instead of being injected with praying mantis DNA, they will be battling an army of Mantis Men, presumably the result of said DNA experiment Gone Horribly Wrong (or right, one can never be sure with Aperture Science).
    "Pick up a rifle and follow the yellow line. You'll know when the test starts."
  • Rapid Reload has the giant praying mantis mecha as a boss in the forest stage, who can release Sword Beam attacks from it's scythes.
  • Sly 3: Honor Among Thieves has anthropomorphic mantises fill the role of Chinese Vampire enemies.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog:
  • Spider: The Video Game have regular-sized praying mantises, which normally wouldn't be this trope if not the fact that you're a regular-sized sentient spider. They can even fire Sword Beam attacks from their arms which you need to jump to avoid getting hit.
  • Gyalis from Temtem is a 2 metre-tall mantis made of gemstones with spikes on its scythe-hands, and has a reputation for being a "scary monster" due to appearing in many horror movies.
  • Turok: A Boss in in Dinosaur Hunter is a giant mantis that can spit acid.
  • Titan Quest: The giant mantis monsters roam into the Chinese forests and viciously attack your hero when they sight him/her. You can also wear a special suit of armor (composed of helmet, greaves and cuirass) that makes you look like a mantis-man.
  • Warcraft:
    • Warcraft III: The Crypt Lords evoke this trope: their body has the same limb distribution as a mantis (four legs supporting and two huge claws), but is much thicker and stockier, like a beetle the size of a rhino.
    • World of Warcraft: The Pandaren's main enemies are an insect-like race known as the Mantids, introduced in the "Mists of Pandaria" expansion. While primarily enemies, you do quests for one particular faction of them.
  • War of the Monsters has Preytor, a preying mantis Kaiju as one of the fighters.
  • Ys: Ancient Ys Vanished ~ Omen has a scythe-juggling mantis named Pictimos as one of the bosses in Darm Tower.

    Web Animation 
  • Homestar Runner: A particularly bizarre example occurs in "Decemberween In July", during Strong Bad's version of That Time Of Year by Leomard Sportsinterviews. Instead of reading "Decemberween is almost here! Get ready," Strong Bad reads, "De giant mantis is almost here. Get ready to be pistol-whipped, snowman!" with illustration to match.

  • Spacetrawler references mantises' reputation as dangerous when Yuri, well on her way to Unhinged-ville, gets her arms replaced with robotic, mantis-like laser-scythes.

    Western Animation 

    Real Life 
  • Truth in Television. Mantises are very badass, being able to kill prey many times larger than themselves, such as snakes, rodents, and even birds. One of the only terrestrial arthropods that can overpower and kill a scorpion in a fair fight. Some are even poisonous, that is, dangerous to eat, so even if a predator does get the better of them they're not going to like it. (None are venomous, because they never needed any venom.)
  • Southern Praying Mantis Kung Fu (which, incidentally, is the style Toph's earthbending is based on) is a very close-range fighting style. Northern Praying Mantis Style (also known as Seven Star Praying Mantis Style) is a style of unrelated lineage which utilizes much longer range techniques, including whipping, circular blocks, and high kicks, as well as signature "mantis hook" hand techniques which use three fingers (imitative of a mantis's claws) to strike vital points.
  • Female praying mantises are known for biting the heads off of their mates. They don't always do it though, with only 25% of all sexual male-female encounters resulting in cannibalism. That said, 90% of all mantis species have been recorded performing this, both in captivity (where it is more common) and in the wild. Scientists aren't really sure why they do this.