Order: Mantodea
Family: Mantidae


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.

Quick Facts

  • 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

Adult European mantid. Image credit: Whitney Cranshaw, Colorado State University, 

Adult European Mantid

Adult of European mantid feeding on a grasshopper. Image credits: Whitney Cranshaw, Colorado State University,

Adult European Mantid

Mantid nymph. Note the elongated abdomen and thorax. Image credits: Whitney Cranshaw, Colorado State University,


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

OISAT. (n.d.). Praying mantis. Online Information Service for Non-Chemical Pest Management in the Tropics. Available

UCIPM. (n.d.). Mantids, or Praying Mantises. University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources. Available

UW-Madison. (n.d.). Praying Mantids. University of Wisconsin-Madison – Extension. Available,long%2C%20and%20has%20long%20antennae.

CSU Extension Fact Sheet

Download or view the CSU Extension’s PDF fact sheet for your reference.