The hard-working Chinese Mantid is an efficient killing machine, eating its way through pesky insects that damage gardens.
The Chinese Mantis, or Mantid, is a member of the Praying Mantis family. The first pair of legs are thick and bent, looking more like arms than legs. The other pairs of legs are thin and twig-like. The body is mostly brown, though it can also be green and even shades of gray. Chinese Mantis' long slender wings always extend beyond the abdomen. Wings lay flat on the abdomen when not flying. The large eyes are on the sides of the head. Long, wiry antennae sweep the area like a metal detector. Females are larger than males and both genders can fly. Females are known for eating males after reproducing with them. Fertilized eggs are laid along the bottom of twigs and branches and look like flat disks, or pumpkin seeds. Adults can be found near flowers in gardens, parks, along the road, and in orchards.
The Chinese Mantid was introduced to this continent in the late 1890's. They have voracious appetites for garden insects and are extremely beneficial to have around. They are not discriminatory. The Mantid's natural diet often means insects typically known for destroying flowers and fruit are removed from the area. The Chinese Mantis and its relatives are so welcome in gardens that their eggs are often purchased in garden stores or online for deliberate propagation. Mantids have been kept as indoor insect pets, but serve such an important role in a garden ecosystem, they are more valuable outdoors. If captured in order to observe up close, releasing it at dusk allows it to get back to its useful work.
Scientific Name: Tenodera aridifolia
Other Name(s): Chinese Mantid, Praying Mantis
Size (Adult; Length): 80mm to 105mm (3.12in to 4.10in)
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