Identification, Images, & Information
For Insects, Spiders & Their Kin
For the United States & Canada

Order Mantodea - Mantids

Mantid - Tenodera sinensis - male Mantid - Stagmomantis carolina - female Little Yucatan Mantid - Mantoida maya Mantis at Saguaro NP, Arizona - Litaneutria minor - male Mantid with prey - Tenodera sinensis - female Grizzled Mantid - Gonatista grisea - female Grass-like Mantis - Thesprotia graminis - male Mantis Multiple Birth Chinese Mantid nymph - Tenodera sinensis
Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Subphylum Hexapoda (Hexapods)
Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Mantodea (Mantids)
Other Common Names
Mantis, Praying Mantis, Praying Locust
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
major changes in higher classification recetly proposed in (1)
Explanation of Names
Greek mantis 'soothsayer, prophet'
~28 spp. in 16 genera of 6 families in our area (BG data), ~2300 spp. worldwide, arranged in 14 families(2)(3) -- 29 families per (1)
from 1 cm (Mantoida tenuis) to >17 cm (Ischnomantis gigas)(4)(2)
Relatively large, elongate insects; forelegs raptorial; head typically triangular, with large eyes, three ocelli(5), and very flexible articulation to prothorax allowing a mantid to "look over its shoulder"(6)

key to FL spp.(7) covers virtually all eastern mantids
Examples of oothecae:
Gonatista grisea (Grizzled Mantid)
Liturgusa maya
Brunneria borealis (Brunner's Mantis)
Litaneutria minor
Mantis religiosa (European mantis)
Phyllovates chlorophaea (Texas Unicorn Mantis)
Stagmomantis californica (California Mantis)
Stagmomantis carolina (Carolina Mantis)
Stagmomantis gracilipes (Arizona Tan Mantis)
Tenodera sinensis (Chinese Mantid)
Tenodera angustipennis (Narrow-winged Mantis)

Iris oratoria (Mediterranean Mantis)
Oligonicella scudderi
our spp. usually live from spring to late autumn with eggs overwintering; tropical mantids may live longer
typically other arthropods; can be highly cannibalistic. Large mantids may catch small birds, lizards, frogs...
Life Cycle
metamorphosis incomplete, generally with seven or more molts before maturity. Eggs are laid late in the season in an egg case, or ootheca (first foamy, then papery after the foam sets) and hatch en masse in the spring. Most individuals seen in the field are gravid females; males are often eaten by females immediately after mating.(8)
Except for adaptations to predatory life that make the group look peculiar, mantids are otherwise very close to Blattodea and can be described as predatory roaches. Differences between lineages of the Polyneoptera are now considered rather low-level.(9)
Non-native species
Liturgusa maya. From the Neotropics, recently
European Mantis, Mantis religiosa. From Europe, late 19th century
Asian Jumping Mantis, Statilia maculata. From Asia, recently (2010s?)
Narrow-winged Mantis, Tenodera angustipennis. From Asia, 1930
Chinese Mantid, Tenodera sinensis. From China, late 19th century
Mediterranean Mantis, Iris oratoria. From w. Palaearctic
See Also
Similar raptorial legs are found among Heteroptera (Reduviidae, Nepidae); Neuroptera Mantispidae; and some Diptera
Print References
(10) --a recent treatment claimed to be peer-reviewed, although it's unclear how such a review process may apply to 'independently published' papers
Works Cited
1.The systematics of Mantodea revisited: an updated classification incorporating multiple data sources (Insecta: Dictyoptera)
Schwarz C.J., Roy R. 2019. Ann. Soc. ent. Fr. (N.S.) 55(2): 101-196.
2.Otte D., Spearman L., Stiewe M.B.D. Mantodea species file online. Version 5.0
3.MANTODEA Gottesanbeterinnen der Welt
Reinhard Ehrmann. 2002. Natur und Tier-Verlag.
4.The Praying Mantids
Frederick R. Prete, Lawrence E. Hurd, Patrick, H. Wells, Harrington Wells. 2000. Johns Hopkins University Press.
5.Grasshoppers and Mantids of the World
Ken Preston-Mafham. 1991. Facts on File, Inc.
6.National Audubon Society Field Guide to Insects and Spiders
Lorus and Margery Milne. 1980. Knopf.
7.Florida preying mantids
Choate P.M. 2003.
8.American Insects: A Handbook of the Insects of America North of Mexico
Ross H. Arnett. 2000. CRC Press.
9.Evolution of the Insects
David Grimaldi and Michael S. Engel. 2005.
10.Praying Mantises of the United States and Canada
Kris Anderson. 2018. Independently published.