Over 2,400 species of mantis in about 430 genera are recognized. They are predominantly found in tropical regions, but some live in temperate areas. The systematics of mantises have long been disputed. Mantises, along with stick insects (Phasmatodea), were once placed in the order Orthoptera with the cockroaches (now Blattodea) and rock crawlers (now Grylloblattodea). Kristensen (1991) combined the Mantodea with the cockroaches and termites into the order Dictyoptera, suborder Mantodea. The name mantodea is formed from the Ancient Greek words μάντις (mantis) meaning "prophet", and εἶδος (eidos) meaning "form" or "type". It was coined in 1838 by the German entomologist Hermann Burmeister. The order is occasionally called the mantes, using a Latinized plural of Greek mantis. The name mantid properly refers only to members of the family Mantidae, which was, historically, the only family in the order. The other common name, praying mantis, applied to any species in the order (though in Europe mainly to Mantis religiosa), comes from the typical "prayer-like" posture with folded forelimbs. The vernacular plural "mantises" (used in this article) was confined largely to the US, with "mantids" predominantly used as the plural in the UK and elsewhere, until the family Mantidae was further split in 2002.
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