Envis Centre, Ministry of Environment & Forest, Govt. of India

Printed Date: Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Praying Mantis





Scientific name


Mantis religiosa Linn


Common name


Devil’s riding horse




Khandobache ghoda




Throughout India


Religious association


The insect’s resting posture—ostensibly in prayer—has given it the image of a pious and gentle creature, hence its name. It’s strange shape and posture has perpetrated the belief that it is a soothsayer.



Among the Gonds of Vidarbha (Maharashtra), the vaid or medicine man keeps a praying mantis as a pet. He worships the insect and uses it for fortune-telling. This is a very unusual practice and its origin and significance are unknown.





Source: “Sacred Animals Of India” by  Nanditha Krishna, (Penguin Book India, 2010)