A large, carnivorous insect that in some species reaches 6 inches in length. The mantis’s powerful, spiny forelegs are held in an attitude of prayer, which gives the insect its common name, “praying mantis.” This, coupled with the insect’s wedge-shaped head and large, protruding eyes, gives the mantis a striking appearance. A unique characteristic of the mantis is that the female kills and eats the male after he has impregnated her. In myth, Mantis personifies the concept that creation is not only birth but death as well and that through death, life is renewed. Myths about Mantis often reveal him as a shapeshifter. Mantis is the most beloved incarnation of the San Creator god |Kaggen. |Kaggen could transform himself into any animal form, but the forms of the mantis and the eland (a type of antelope) were his favorite. In one myth, Eland was the well-loved first son of Mantis, who wept when Eland was killed. This myth taught the San to honor the death of an eland, their master animal.