You walk onto your front porch. A praying mantis perches on a porch rail or table.
It appears something like an odd-looking animated baby string bean, propped up with green toothpicks.
As you move, it turns its triangular head toward you.
You shift first one way, then another, and the gaze from its large compound eyes follows you with ease.
You become slightly alarmed. This creature appears almost human, you think.
An insect closely allied to the grasshopper family and known scientifically as an orthopterous insect of the family Mantidae, order mantodea.
This bug is not poisonous and will cause you no harm, but to other members of the insect world, it is a deadly killer.
It is the only known bug that can direct its gaze wherever it wishes, moving the head freely in all directions.
Look for it in your vegetable garden, among your flowers, or wherever insects are attracted.
The Praying Mantis are very beneficial insects that make a career of eating large numbers of pest insects.