A silhouette of a mantis on the front window screen. A common name is praying mantises, because of the typical prayer-like stance, although the term is often misspelled as preying mantis, since mantises are predatory. The majority of mantises are ambush predators, waiting for prey to stray too near. The mantis then lashes out at remarkable speed. Prey items are caught and held securely with grasping, spiked forelegs.