Subject: Stick Mantis or Stick Insect?
Geographic location of the bug: Evergreen Park, IL (Chicago area)
Time: 11:57 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman: My boyfriend found this friend just outside our front door! I immediately thought stick insect, though I wasn’t aware, at the time, that we had any in the Midwest. He called Mantis, and I had to agree, especially considering that face/head.
It seemed a tiny bit shy.
I’ve searched the site here, and there was a picture of an Indian stick mantis that looked close. But, we’re pretty far from India!
From other pictures and posts on your site, it doesn’t seem to be a Western nor Eastern walking stick, since those don’t appear to have such a prominent (and adorably contemplative!) head.
What is this bug? Is it from a far away land? Or is it a native to these Chicago suburbs?
(I have some video, if that would help or you would like to see it – just let me know!)
How you want your letter signed: Krissy Klabacha
This is an immature Chinese Mantis, Tenodera sinensis sinensis, and as its name indicates, it is Asian in origin, but it has been introduced to North America where it has naturalized, and indeed, in much of its introduced range, it is the most common Mantis found because it is sold (in the ootheca or egg case stage) as a biological control for insects in the garden. According to BugGuide: “Tan to pale green. Vertically striped face. Forewings tan with green along front margin. Compound eyes chocolate-brown at sunset, pale tan soon after sunrise and during the day.” Here is a BugGuide image for comparison. BugGuide also states: “Introduced from China. Was first collected in Pennsylvania in 1896. Later it was introduced to other states to combat pests. It is thought to outcompete many of the native preying mantises, which are in decline. It is sold as pest control, although its effectiveness is not proven. It is thought that Chinese mantis eats the smaller native mantids. This may have led to declines in population numbers of the native mantis species in some areas, but none of them are listed as threatened at this time. Egg cases are unmistakable.” See the Illinois Natural History Survey for information on Walkingsticks found in your area.
Thank you so much! You do such great work, and respond so quickly! I might have to look around the yard for any mantid egg cases. Are those the same as the hardened, almost walnut or Brazilian nut-looking cases found on tree branches? We’ve found one once before, a few years ago, but never identified the type of mantid it had once held.
Again, thank you for your help and for all of this info, including the link about local walkingsticks.
It’s so exciting to learn about all of the life that surrounds us, especially when it comes to creatures that I never knew were there! Here? There? Yes, here, there, and, in many cases, most everywhere.
Kris Klabacha, friend to all animals*