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Carolina Mantis (Stagmomantis carolina)

Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Carolina Mantis

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

Updated: 10/11/2023; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
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 is 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 foamy substance 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.©InsectIdentification.org

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General Characteristics

Capability, Shape, Texture/Pattern, Benefits, Dangers

Taxonomic Hierarchy

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

Identifying Information

Size, Colors, Features
Scientific Name: Stagmomantis carolina
Other Name(s): Praying Mantis
Category: Mantid
Size (Adult; Length): 48mm to 60mm (1.88" to 2.36")
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: green; brown; black; gray
Descriptors: praying; mantid

Relative Size Comparison

Typical Size Between 48mm (1.9in) and 60mm (2.4in)
Lo: 48mm
Md: 54mm
Hi: 60mm

Territorial Map*

U.S., Canada, and Mexico
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Canadian territory of Alberta graphic
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Canadian territory of Newfoundland and Labrador graphic
Canadian territory of Ontario graphic
Canadian territory of Quebec graphic
Canadian territory of Saskatchewan graphic
Territory map graphic of the country of Mexico
Contiguous United States shape map layer graphic
Prince Edward Is.  
* MAP NOTES: The territorial heat map above showcases (in red) the states and territories of North America where the Carolina Mantis may be found (but is not limited to). This sort of data is useful when attempting to see concentrations of particular species across the continent as well as revealing possible migratory patterns over a species' given lifespan. Some insects are naturally confined by environment, weather, mating habits, food resources and the like while others see widespread expansion across most, or all, of North America. States/Territories shown above are a general indicator of areas inhabited by the Carolina Mantis. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.
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