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Grizzled Mantid (Gonatista grisea)

Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Grizzled Mantid

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Image Credit: Jim H. taken in North Fort Meyers, FL
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Image Credit: Jim H. taken in North Fort Meyers, FL
Full-sized image #2 of the Grizzled-Mantid Thumbnail image #2 of the Grizzled-Mantid

An unusual mix of colors for a mantid, the tropical Grizzled Mantid hides among the lichens growing on trees.

Updated: 01/04/2022; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
Green and gray, the mottled pattern on the Grizzled Mantid makes it difficult to find the insect on tree trunks, and difficult to recognize it as a type of mantid. The praying arms are present, and are studded with five or six short spines. They may be folded on either side of the pronotum. This species has a very limited range in North America. Commonly present only in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and Puerto Rico, it is less often seen and so receives less publicity.

Like all mantids, the Grizzled Mantid has large binocular eyes, and it eats other insects. It is a stealthy predator, waiting to ambush insects meandering near its perch, usually standing up-side down so it can see insects as they crawl up the tree toward it. Females have short wings, but males' wings extend over their abdomen. The jagged sides of the abdomen create a serrated edge that ends in a point with two short tails, one on either side of it. This species typically hunts on trees, where it is well camouflaged, but it has also been found on fences and stucco walls. It is often spotted on magnolia, water oaks, small-scrub hickory, and royal palm. Nymphs, or juveniles, look just like smaller versions of adults.©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: Liturgusidae
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          Genus: Gonatista
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            Species: grisea

Identifying Information

Size, Colors, Features
Scientific Name: Gonatista grisea
Other Name(s): Florida Bark Mantid, Lichen Mimic Mantid
Category: Mantid
Size (Adult; Length): 36mm to 40mm (1.41" to 1.57")
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: gray; green; brown
Descriptors: gray; green; white; brown; mottled; lichen; bug; praying; large eyes; mantis; tree

Relative Size Comparison

Typical Size Between 36mm (1.4in) and 40mm (1.6in)
Lo: 36mm
Md: 38mm
Hi: 40mm

Territorial Map*

U.S., Canada, and Mexico
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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 Grizzled Mantid 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 Grizzled Mantid. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.
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