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Martina the Praying Mantis



Martina the Praying Mantis
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 2 to 3
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   5.04

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    arbor, coloration, container, particularly, peering, peered, rested, holds, beetle, resting, hunger, trapped, lights, shadow, screen, eggs
     content words:    Martina Mantis, And I'm


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Martina the Praying Mantis
By Joyce Furstenau
  

1     Martina is a praying mantis. Martina is always hungry. Her bulging eyes move quickly to see if anything that moves can be her next meal. She spots a fly and quickly pounces on him. Using her strong, barbed front legs to hold the fly, it is quickly devoured, and Martina continues her search for another meal.
 
2     She sees several aphids crawling about on the leaves of the grape plants where she is hiding. Her huge eyes give her the advantage, and her head rotates in almost a complete circle. However, no one sees Martina in the grapes because she looks just like one of the grape stems. This is called protective coloration or camouflage. In this setting, a mantis is always on the prowl for a dinner victim.
 
3     When Martina is resting, she holds her two front legs in such a way that it looks like she is praying. That is why she is called a praying mantis.
 
4     Yesterday, the 300 eggs that Martina laid on one of the grape stems began to hatch. Her nymphs were already hungry and attacking the grape aphids. Martina rested after her last meal. While she was resting, Martina made a decision to leave the grape arbor. She wanted to check out the food supply under the maple tree at the end of the garden. She crept out early in the morning the next day.
 
5     Martina Mantis found several juicy morsels to feed on under the tree. As she was dining on a particularly juicy beetle, she noticed a shadow moving on the grass. Martina saw the shadow getting bigger. A human face peered closely at Martina. Suddenly, she was scooped into a large, clear container. A branch of grape leaves full of aphids was pushed in beside her. A screen was placed over the lid, and Martina was trapped.

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