Preying Mantis
Location: Somerville, MA
November 20, 2010 3:28 pm
Hi – I found this in my front yard in Somerville, MA on a perennial sunflower. I identified it as a preying mantis that shouldn’t be this far North, so I was wondering what you had to say about it. I found a second mantis on the same day that looked totally different that I couldn’t even locate in a guidebook. Will submit that one as well. It was late September, early afternoon.
Signature: Jess

Male Chinese Mantis

Second Somerville MA Preying Mantis
Location: Somerville, MA
November 20, 2010 3:29 pm
This one was fat and slow and brown all over. I could have picked it up and it wouldn’t have batted a buggy eyelash. I didn’t pick it up, btw.
Signature: Jess

Female European Mantis

Hi Jess,
We took the liberty of combining your two emails into one posting.  We agree that you probably have two different species of Mantids here, but the most obvious difference between them is that the smaller individual is a male and the larger individual is a female.  We believe both of your individuals are introduced species.  We believe the male is a Chinese Mantis,
Tenodera aridifolia sinensis.  According to BugGuide, it is:  “Tan to pale green. Forewings tan with green along front margin. Compound eyes chocolate-brown at sunset, pale tan soon after sunrise and during the day.”  BugGuide also indicates it is “Widely distributed in the U.S. due to the availability of commercially purchased egg-cases.”  We found a photo of a female European Mantis, Mantis religiosa, on BugGuide that is a very close match to your female, and BugGuide indicates:  “From “National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Insects & Spiders” (1), p. 397:  This mantid was accidentally introduced in 1899 on nursery stock from southern Europe. At a time when Gypsy Moth Caterpillars were burgeoning in the eastern states, it was recognized almost immediately as a beneficial predator. However, mantids are so cannibalistic that they are rarely numerous enough to have much effect in depleting caterpillar populations.”  Any experts in Mantis identification are welcomed to confirm or correct our species identifications.

Male Chinese Mantis

Thank you so much! This has been somewhat of a local mystery now – to the point of one friend begging me to put these pups up on your site. I’m sure you can feel a general collective sigh of relief at our bugs having identities!

Location: Massachusetts

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