Curious animal, the religious Mantis, whose name - mantis - derives from the Greek mantis, which stands for prophet: "religious" is more for this disturbing insect with a somewhat alien appearance that feeds on spiders, insects, sex companions and, as has recently been discovered, even birds.

Carnivores and cannibals from the fearsome raptatory limb, they generally feed on other insects and small arthropods, but they also manage to hunt vertebrate minutes such as frogs, lizards, salamanders and snakes. So far, however, no one suspected that they also systematically killed birds.

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Yet it seems a global habit: a group of Swiss and US researchers has shown that 12 different species and 9 genera of mantids spread in 13 different countries and on all continents (except Antarctica) are able to finish and eat birds of 24 different species.

Of the 147 cases reported, 70% were observed in the United States, where mantises often catch hummingbirds in garden plants that the unsuspecting birds pollinate. Among the most frequent victims there is the golarubino hummingbird (Archilochus colubris), 9 cm long - the female mantis reach 7.5.

Our mistakes. A few decades ago several species of mantis were introduced into the United States as a weapon for pest control. Today, those ever-hungry insects pose a threat to various bird populations.