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Carolina Mantis (Stagmomantis carolina)

Detailing the identifying qualities of the Carolina Mantis, including physical features and territorial reach.

 Updated: 2/13/2018; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ¬©

  Carolina Mantis  
Picture of Carolina-Mantis
Picture of Carolina-Mantis Picture of Carolina-MantisPicture of Carolina-MantisPicture of Carolina-Mantis

The Carolina Mantis has made its way across most of the continent, making it possible for almost every gardener to see one in person.

The Carolina Mantis is the most common mantis found across North America despite its name. It comes in a variety of colors and patterns. Some are very green, while others are gray or brownish. Their bodies are clearly mantis-like, exhibiting a prayerful pose with its front pair of legs. This first set of legs are substantially thicker than the rear pairs. It has a narrow thorax ('chest') and thicker abdomen. Bulbous eyes with tiny black pupils are elevated on the sides of the head. A pointed mouth looks almost like a beak. Short antennae help detect environmental information. Wings are tucked along the top of the abdomen when at rest. The hefty Carolina Mantis can fly. The females of the species have a wider abdomen than their male counterparts and are generally larger overall. Carolina Mantis females have been known to eat the male even while in the process of mating.

The Carolina Mantis is a gardener's best friend. It consumes a huge quantity of pest insects that could otherwise damage or destroy flowers and produce. Adults sit on flowers, garden plants and shrubs, waiting for insect prey to come along. They use their front legs to help secure an insect and their sharp mouthparts to eat it. Mantis eggs can be purchased online before summer so gardeners can hatch a population of them locally. Eggs are thin discs and a female usually lays them in groups on twigs or branches. A mother covers her eggs with a foam believed to seal in moisture so the eggs do not dry out. Small nymphs hatch in the spring and early summer. While some people have captured them and kept them as pets, Carolina Mantises have an important ecological role in the garden ecosystem. If caught, admire the insect and release it the same day to allow it to play its important part in keeping pest insects under control.

Picture of the Carolina Mantis
Picture of the Carolina Mantis

Carolina Mantis Information

Category: Mantid
Common Name: Carolina Mantis
Scientific Name: Stagmomantis carolina
Other Name(s): Praying Mantis

Taxonomy Hierarchy

 Arrow graphic Kingdom: Animalia
  Arrow graphic Phylum: Arthropoda
   Arrow graphic Class: Insecta
    Arrow graphic Order: Mantodea
     Arrow graphic Family: Mantidae
      Arrow graphic Genus: Stagmomantis
       Arrow graphic Species: carolina

Size, Identifying Tags and Territorial Reach

Size (Adult, Length): Size (Adult, Length): 48 mm to 60 mm (1.872 inches to 2.34 inches)
Identifying Colors: green; brown; black; gray
Additional Descriptors: praying, mantid

North American Territorial Reach (Though Not Limited To): Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming, Mexico

A Note About Territorial Reach: Keep in mind that an insect's reach is not limited by lines drawn on a map and therefore species may appear in areas, regions and/or states beyond those listed above. Insects are driven by environmental factors, food supplies and mating patterns and do not nescessarily work within hard-and-fast territorial lines like we humans do.

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