Currently viewing the category: "Preying Mantis"
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Ed. Note:  Mel Frank sent us this romantic couple of native Mantids in the genus Stagmomantis from his archives for your viewing pleasure.  We had been hearing about these images for some time and we are happy we are finally getting to post some Bug Love on a Woody Plant.  We are not sure if they are California Mantids or Bordered Mantids as both species are found in Southern California.

Geographic location of the bug:  Mount Washington, Los Angeles, California
Date: 09/16/2016
Time: Dusk
How you want your letter signed:  Mel Frank

Mating Mantids

Mating Mantids

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Stick Mantis or Stick Insect?
Geographic location of the bug:  Evergreen Park, IL (Chicago area)
Date: 08/15/2018
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

Immature Chinese Mantis

Dear Krissy,
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.
Sincerely,
Kris Klabacha, friend to all animals*

* I do not have warm feelings for ticks nor for lady mosquitoes. Ticks are my least favorite animal of all, even though it’s the diseases they spread/transmit that cause me to dislike them so.  Perhaps your site can help me make some sort of peace with ticks and mosquitoes? Is there a page for that? In the meantime, I keep reminding myself that mosquitoes feed bats, and I love having bats around!
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Dead Leaf Mantis?
Geographic location of the bug:  Pollock Pines, California
Date: 08/10/2018
Time: 03:50 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Bugman, we found this mantis in a pile of manzanita and other bush trimmings. It’s abdomen resembles a dead leaf, but is this a dead leaf mantis? Thanks in advance.
How you want your letter signed:  ~ John

Probably California Mantis

Dear ~ John,
This is an immature native Mantis in the genus
Stagmomantis, and we believe it is a California Mantis, Stagmomantis californicus, but we would not rule out that it is the very similar looking Bordered Mantis, Stagmomantis limbata, as their ranges overlap in California.  Both species come in brown and green forms, and the color tends to vary based on where they are living.  Green individuals are often found on fresh green growth while brown individuals are better camouflaged on drier plants.  Here is a BugGuide image for comparison.

Daniel,
You’re amazing. I knew it couldn’t be a dead leaf, but what I couldn’t think of anything else to call it!  We’ve only ever found green ones in Pollock Pines.  This brown one fit right in with the bush clippings.  Thank you for your time and ID.  We love finding Mantises.
~ John
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Drama on my Sweet Sarah clone
Geographic location of the bug:  Mt. Washington, Los Angeles, California
Date: 08/04/2018
Time: 11:08 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Dear Bugman,
I hope you don’t mind that I keep sending pictures of the same two predators that have taken up residence on my Sweet Sarah clone.  The California Mantis was missing for a few days and then it reappeared looking quite a bit bigger.  I noticed this drama today.  What was really interesting was that as soon as she got close to the Green Lynx Spider, he leaped out of reach.  I haven’t found a single grasshopper on this plant, while I have to pick them off the rest of my crop.
How you want your letter signed:  Constant Gardener

California Mantis stalks Green Lynx Spider on a Woody Plant

Dear Constant Gardener,
Keep your images coming.  We applaud your organic gardening methods and natural pest control.  When an insect molts, it becomes much more vulnerable to attack, at least until its new exoskeleton hardens.  Since your California Mantis has grown, it must have molted, so it probably was in hiding until its new exoskeleton hardened sufficiently, explaining why it was missing for a few days. 

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  What are these Flies eating with the California Mantis?
Location:  Mount Washington, Los Angeles, California
Date: 07/23/2018
Time: 07:04 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman: Dear Bugman,
The California Mantis living on my Sweet Sarah clone is growing, but today was the first time I saw it with a meal, but these flies were swarming around and the Mantis was shaking its head and moving, but the flies kept pestering.  I watched this for about a half an hour at which time the flies finally tired and flew off.  What are they?  I couldn’t see what the Mantis was eating, but it was green.  There are lots of tiny Grasshoppers on my plants.
How do you want your letter signed:  Constant Gardener

Freeloader Flies Kleptoparasitize Feeding Mantis

Dear Constant Gardener,
Your image is amazing.  We quickly located this image on Colin Purrington Nature Photography that looks remarkably like your image, but the Flies are not identified, but they are compared to “vultures.”  Then we found another image of a Mantis with prey and small flies on BugGuide where they are identified as Freeloader Flies in the genus
Desmometopa and BugGuide states:  “Females are kleptoparasitic and are especially attracted to predatory insects or spiders feeding on honeybees.”

Freeloader Flies with California Mantis on Woody Plant

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  The Mantis on my Woody Plant is growing
Geographic location of bug:  Mount Washington, Los Angeles, California
Date:  7/20/2018
Time:  3:19 PM
Your letter to the bugman:  Dear Bugman,
I am very happy to report that the California Mantis nymph that had been living on my Sweet Sarah clone, but vanished about a week ago, has returned, and now I haven’t seen the Green Lynx Spider.  Seems predators have some sort of hierarchy and now that the molted Mantis has grown, the Green Lynx Spider feels threatened and left.  It is interesting that this Sweet Sarah clone is the only woody plant in the garden has predators.  I wonder why that is.  It is also interesting that the little Grasshoppers that were common about a week ago have vanished, perhaps eaten.
How you want your letter signed:  Constant Gardener

Immature California Mantis

Dear Constant Gardener,
Your supposition of the hierarchy of predation sounds very plausible to us.  Plants give off attractants including odors to attract insects, especially female phytophagous insects that must lay eggs on the proper food plant, but it is also plausible that the smell given off by this particular plant attracts predators that are interested in insects feeding on the plants, which might help explain the disappearance of those immature Grasshoppers. 

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination