The Carolina Mantis (Stagmomantis carolina) is one of the most widespread mantids in North America. When we lived in Texas 9 out of 10 mantids we found were the beautiful Carolina Mantis! They are sexually dimorphic with males having fully developed wings and more slender bodies. Females can be green or gray and have reduced wings.
male Carolina Mantis (Stagmomantis carolina) flying
The amazing Texas Unicorn Mantis (Phyllovates chlorophaea) is found from central Texas south in to Central America. We photographed this one in the Lower Rio Grade Valley of Texas. It gets its name from the two projections on top of its head between the antennae. This species is so charismatic, that it is becoming popular in the pet trade.
Texas Unicorn mantis (Phyllovates chlorophaea)
Here in Alabama we have been getting several different mantid species which is a real treat. A recent visitor to our house was the dainty Scudder’s Mantid (Oligonicella scudderi) which is long and slender, easily blending in with a blade of grass! They are very quick moving around on vegetation and will readily take flight to escape predation.
Scudder’s Mantid (Oligonicella scudderi)
I have kept lots of mantids as pets and for outreach, they are a lot of fun. I would highly recommend it!! In other parts of the world it is quite common to keep these guys as pets! You can train them to do things and believe it or not, they actually get to "know" you so you can easily feed them from your hand!!! Sometimes they even look like they are reaching for a hug!
Chinese mantis (Tenodera sinensis)
There are many old wives tails about mantids. It is often reported that it is obligatory for females to eat the males as part of mating. This story resulted from an observation of a starved female feeding on a smaller male that was kept in a small container. They are predator and certainly females can eat males, but it is rarely obligatory and seldom actually occurs in the wild. These guys do like to eat, in fact there are a number of observations of mantids capturing and feeding on humming birds!! WOW!
female Bark Mantis (Liturgusa sp.)
About a week ago I found an ootheca (mantid egg case) on our house! You can see the white egg case being laid below.
Carolina Mantis ootheca (S. carolina)
It takes a couple of hours to lay the entire eggs case. When it dries it is a light yellow color. You know when they have hatched because each cell will have a tiny hole in it!!
female Carolina Mantis laying ootheca
Mantids also have GREAT vision and they will follow you with their eyes around the room! This makes them very relatable to us. They are one of our favorite insects and that is why we chose them as a mascot!
Chinese mantis (T. sinensis) used as our Instagram profile picture!
We of course have a soap with a toy mantid in it! Each Stink Bug Farts and True Bug Soap have one of 14 different toy insects embedded in them including the mantid! If you want to know more about mantids buy our Stink Bug Farts!
I hope you find lots of bugs in your back yard!
Till next time,
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