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

Printed Date: Sunday, February 24, 2019

Praying Mantis

 


 

 

 

Scientific name

 

Mantis religiosa Linn

 

Common name

 

Devil’s riding horse

 

Marathi

 

Khandobache ghoda

 

Distribution

 

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)