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  • European Mantis - (Mantis religiosa)

    European Mantis - (Mantis religiosa)

    The imported European Mantid, or European Mantis, is a gardener's best friend and a treat to see for bug enthusiasts.

    Staff Writer (1/27/2014): As the name suggests, the European Mantis was one native to Europe and was discovered in the United States in 1899. It is a type of Praying Mantis. They are highly recognizable creatures, mainly thanks their odd shape. Their bodies are relatively large and long with four legs at the abdomen area and two larger legs that appear more like arms. These appendages, called forelegs, are bent at severe angles giving them the appearance of holding their 'hands' in prayer.

    The European species comes in a variety of colors ranging from bright green to dark brown. Like all mantises, or mantids, the female is larger than the male, especially at the abdomen where eggs are made. They are hefty insects and females are unlikely to fly as their light wings are not able to hold their weight very well. Females use their wings to scare off would-be predators by flaring them open while raising their 'arms'. The pose startles some predators, sparing the mantis. Males can and do fly. After mating, females have been known to eat the male they reproduced with.

    European Mantises prefer a diet of insects and operate during the day. They make great "garden enforcers" because of their insect diet. For this very reason they were introduced into America by early gardeners. European Mantises have voracious appetites and can keep pest insect populations under control, limiting the damage they do to plants and flowers.

    Observing a Praying Mantis is a special thing, but leave it in its natural habitat where it can hunt all day long. Trying to capture and keep mantises as 'pets' only results in cruelly starving them to death. Unlike humans that eat 'three square meals' a day, mantises eat non-stop all day long. Humans cannot possibly feed them as often as they would need. Mantises do not 'look' hungry, but they always are.

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    Details of the:
    European Mantis

    Category: Mantid
    Common name: European Mantis
    Scientific Name: Mantis religiosa
    Other Names: Praying Mantis, European Mantid

      Kingdom: Animalia
       Phylum: Arthropoda
        Class: Insecta
         Order: Mantodea
          Family: Mantidae
           Genus: Mantis
            Species: religiosa

    Size (Adult, Length): 50mm to 65mm (1.97in to 2.56in)

    Identifying Colors: green; brown

    Additional Descriptors: stick, praying, slow

    North American Reach (Though Not Limited To*): Connecticut; Delaware; Maine; Maryland; Massachusetts; New Hampshire; New Jersey; New York; Pennsylvania; Rhode Island; Vermont; British Columbia; Ontario; Quebec

    * Keep in mind that an insect's reach is not limited by lines on a map and therefore may appear in areas/regions/states beyond those listed above.

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