European Mantis (Wild Animals by Papo)

Mantids are iconic insects. Anyone who has grown up looking at or collecting insects is familiar with them. They have interesting morphologies and biologies, especially with their predaceous and often cannibalistic habits. Mantids are not uncommon in toy form; most ‘bin-style’ sets of insects have one. Many of the more-familiar major companies make them too. Several Japanese companies have made Tenodera aridifolia, while most Western companies make the European, or praying, mantis, Mantis religiosa (Linnaeus, 1758), as demonstrated by today’s review of the 2019 Papo figure.

This species is native to the western Palearctic, but has been introduced to other parts of the world, including North America. It gets the common name ‘praying mantis’ (and the Latin epithet religiosa) from the way they hold their front legs, as if praying. They are sometimes called ‘preying’ mantids because they prey on other animals.

This figure by Papo is their third arthropod, and their first since the fantastic European wolf spider and yellow fat-tailed scorpion they released back in 2016. I hope they are successful with their arthropod figures and make more in the future!

The figure is difficult to measure, but if stretched out it would measure roughly 8.0-9.0 cm (hard to measure with the bend at the prothorax-mesothorax juncture), making it 1:1 for a very large female specimen, or slightly larger than 1:1 for an average-sized male specimen. The detail is fantastic. Insects are difficult to technically get 100% accurate, if taking all the exoskeletal sutures into consideration or wing venation.

Overall, this is a good figure for generalists or specialists. It is sturdy enough to be used as an educational toy for children (although the legs are long and sharpish). The Papo praying mantis joins those by Safari LTD (Smithsonian Insects and Hidden Kingdom Insects), CollectA, K&M International, and many others. For a generalist that wants a single representative in their collection, this makes a fantastic choice.

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