Physical characteristics: The Chinese mantid is the largest species in North America, with adult females reaching 4 inches (10 centimeters) in length or more. They are green, brown, or gray, with a distinct pale green border along the edges of their forewings.
Geographic range: This species is found in temperate eastern Asia, eastern United States, and California. They were deliberately introduced into the United States in 1896 to control insect pests.
Habitat: They prefer living in open fields and meadows.
Diet: They will eat any insect or spider that they can catch.
Behavior and reproduction: They are typically found on green, leafy plants and shrubs. Adult females are especially fond of perching near flowers, where they wait to ambush prey.
Gardeners buy the egg cases of the Chinese mantid in an effort to control garden insect pests. They are also kept as pets. (Arthur V. Evans. Reproduced by permission.)
Each egg case contains one hundred to two hundred eggs. The egg cases are attached in the fall to almost any surface, including leaves, stems, branches, fences, buildings, lawn furniture, and automobiles. The larvae hatch the following spring.
Chinese mantids and people: Gardeners buy their egg cases in an effort to control garden insect pests. They are also kept as pets.
Conservation status: This species is not threatened or endangered. ■ Grzimek's Student Animal Life Resource
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Helfer, J. R. How to Know the Grasshoppers, Crickets, Cockroaches, and Their Allies. New York: Dover Publications, 1987.
Preston-Mafham, K. Grasshoppers and Mantids of the World. London: Blandford, 1990.
Tavoloacci, J., ed. Insects and Spiders of the World. New York: Marshall Cavendish, 2003.
Ross, E. S. "Mantids: The Praying Predators." National Geographic 165, no. 2 (February 1984): 268-280.
Tomasinelli, F. "Praying Mantids: An Introduction to Their Lifestyle and Biology." Reptilia 16 (June 2001): 16-28.
Mantis Study Group Home Page. http://www.earthlife.net/ insects/msg.html (accessed on September 13, 2004).
"Mantodea: Praying Mantids." Ecowatch. http://www.ento.csiro.au/ Ecowatch/Insects_Invertebrates/mantodea.htm (accessed on October 24, 2004).
Class: Hexapoda Order: Grylloblattodea Number of families: 1 family
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