Subject: Unknown Mantis at work
Geographic location of the bug: Johnson city, tx
Time: 12:23 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman: Hey! I found what I believe to be two green European Mantids at my place of work a couple weeks ago but this morning I found this dark colored mantis hunting a fly. I’m not sure if it’s just a color variant of the same species or something different? I also will attach pics of my self identified Eurpean Mantids because I’m not 100% on my ID. Thanks!
How you want your letter signed: Lisa Keys
We agree with your identification of the European Mantid which can be distinguished from Chinese Mantids which have striped faces as indicated in this BugGuide image. Your image of a female European Mantis does not show the distinguishing black spot or black spot with a white bull’s eye where the foreleg meets the body on the ventral surface as indicated on BugGuide. The darker Mantid in question is a female Carolina Mantis, a smaller native species. Both European Mantids and Chinese Mantids can be purchased as ootheca or egg cases for gardeners who want to control insects without spraying, which is a noble idea, however, both species are much larger than native Mantids that they will prey upon. We do not endorse introducing non-native Mantids to the garden as we promote the preservation of native species. Here is a BugGuide image of a Carolina Mantid.
Interesting! I thought it might be a Carolina mantis but she was so big, around 3-3.5 inches, that it threw me off a bit. I currently keep these guys as work pets since I knew the first was a non native species at least. I’m sure keeping one or two doesnt have much effect on their population if they are already in the area but I have always enjoyed keeping and caring for mantids even when I was younger. Thanks for your help!