Mantids are uncommon in most of Colorado but are familiar insects to most gardeners. Mantids are relatively large insects that range in size from 50-120 mm (2-5 inches) long, depending on the species. They have a triangular head, widely spaced eyes, an elongated prothorax and abdomen, and large forelegs which are used to capture and hold prey. Mantids are usually brown, green, yellow, or a combination of all three colors. Nymphs resemble the adult form but are smaller. Eggs are laid in masses covered with a frothy secretion that browns and hardens over time.
- There are about 20 species of mantids in the United States.
- Mantids are commonly observed on flowers waiting for foraging insects.
- Mantids can be efficient biological control agents but since they are ambush predators, the magnitude of their biocontrol services in managed landscapes can be limited.
Adult European mantid. Image credit: Whitney Cranshaw, Colorado State University, Bugwood.org
Adult of European mantid feeding on a grasshopper. Image credits: Whitney Cranshaw, Colorado State University, Bugwood.org
Mantid nymph. Note the elongated abdomen and thorax. Image credits: Whitney Cranshaw, Colorado State University, Bugwood.org
The indiscriminate use of broad-spectrum insecticides should be avoided, and maintaining adequate vegetation will provide a suitable habitat for mantids.
Hodgson, E., and R. Patterson. 2007. Beneficial Insects: Mantids. Utah State University – Extension. Available https://extension.usu.edu/pests/research/beneficial-insects-mantids
OISAT. (n.d.). Praying mantis. Online Information Service for Non-Chemical Pest Management in the Tropics. Available http://www.oisat.org/control_methods/natural_enemies/predators/praying_mantis.html
UCIPM. (n.d.). Mantids, or Praying Mantises. University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources. Available https://ipm.ucanr.edu/natural-enemies/mantids/
UW-Madison. (n.d.). Praying Mantids. University of Wisconsin-Madison – Extension. Available https://hort.extension.wisc.edu/articles/praying-mantids/#:~:text=Of%20the%201500%20species%20of,long%2C%20and%20has%20long%20antennae.
CSU Extension Fact Sheet
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