How Long Do Praying Mantis Live? Discover Their Fascinating Lifespan

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Praying mantises are fascinating insects known for their unique appearance and hunting prowess. Their large, elongated body is paired with modified front legs that are used to grasp their prey. These captivating creatures can often be seen with their front legs held in a “praying” position, ready to strike when an unsuspecting victim comes their way.

The lifespan of a praying mantis varies depending on the species and environmental factors. While some species may only live for a few months, others can survive up to a year. In general, praying mantises tend to have a shorter lifespan than many other insects, as they are subject to predation and weather conditions.

Praying Mantis Lifespan

Factors Affecting Lifespan

Praying mantises have a lifespan of 10 to 12 months. Factors that can affect a praying mantis’s lifespan include:

  • Temperature: Colder environments can slow down their metabolism, allowing them to live longer.
  • Food availability: A consistent supply of prey allows mantises to maintain optimal health.
  • Predators: Avoiding predators helps mantises live a longer life.

Lifespan in Captivity Vs. Wild

When comparing the lifespan of praying mantises in the wild and in captivity, there are some key differences:

Wild Captivity
Shorter lifespan due to predators Longer lifespan with a controlled environment
Food scarcity may affect health Consistent food supply promotes healthy growth
Unpredictable living conditions Stable living conditions

In the wild, praying mantises as adults may face various challenges such as predators, harsh environments, and inconsistent food supply. On the other hand, in captivity, they have a more stable environment with fewer threats, leading to a longer lifespan. Moreover, mantises in captivity generally have a steady food supply, promoting healthy growth and development.

However, both adult and nymph praying mantises have their unique characteristics in their respective habitats:

  • Adults have strong, powerful forelegs for capturing and consuming prey.
  • Nymphs are agile and fast-growing, quickly developing into adults.

Stages of a Praying Mantis Life Cycle

Eggs and Ootheca

The life cycle of a praying mantis begins with eggs. Female mantids lay an egg mass called an ootheca, which is a foamy structure that hardens into a protective, styrofoam-like covering. A single ootheca can contain 200 or more eggs. These fascinating features include:

  • Foamy structure
  • Protective covering
  • 200+ eggs per ootheca

Nymphs and Molting

After hatching, praying mantises go through a series of developmental stages called nymphs. These adolescents resemble smaller versions of adult mantises but lack the fully developed wings. Nymphs undergo a process called molting to grow, shedding their exoskeleton multiple times.

Some characteristics of nymphs:

  • Miniature adult appearance
  • No fully developed wings
  • Multiple molting stages

Adult Stage and Mating

When the praying mantis reaches its adult stage, it gains the ability to fly and reproduce. Generally, adults range from 2 to 5 inches (5-12 cm) long and can be brown, green, or yellowish. Male and female praying mantises have different sizes, with males tending to be smaller and more slender.

During the mating process, the female may sometimes eat the male for nourishment. This peculiar behavior provides the female with necessary energy to produce more eggs.

Some distinctions between male and female mantises:

Feature Male Praying Mantis Female Praying Mantis
Size Smaller and more slender Larger and more robust
Wings Longer relative to the body Shorter relative to body
Risk during mating Often get eaten Consumes the male

In summary, the life cycle of a praying mantis consists of three main stages: from the egg-laying ootheca to the nymph molting phase and finally, the adult stage where mating occurs.

Diet and Feeding Habits

Types of Prey

Praying mantises are carnivorous insects that primarily feed on a wide range of other insects. Some common prey items include:

  • Flies: a popular food source for mantids
  • Fruit flies: especially for young mantids or nymphs
  • Crickets: often used as food for mantids in captivity
  • Beetles: a favored prey for larger mantids

Cannibalism in Praying Mantises

Cannibalism is not uncommon among praying mantises. It’s important to note that they are typically solitary and territorial, reducing the risk of cannibalism. However, the myth of mantids having a high propensity for eating their mates resulted from underfed specimens in research studies1.

Feeding in Captivity

When keeping a praying mantis in captivity, closely monitoring its diet is crucial. Some important tips include:

  • Variety: Offer a mix of prey items like crickets, fruit flies, and beetles to maintain a healthy diet
  • Size: Feed your mantis prey that is smaller than half its body size to prevent injury
  • Feeding frequency: Generally, feed adult mantids every 2-3 days, while nymphs should be fed daily

Comparison Table: Types of Prey

Prey Size Suitable for
Fruit fly Small Nymphs
Fly Medium Adults & Nymphs
Cricket Medium-Large Adults
Beetle Large Larger Adults

Anatomy and Characteristics


Praying mantis are large insects with adults generally ranging from 2 to 5 inches (5-12 cm) long1. The Chinese praying mantis (Tenodera sinensis) is between 3 inches (males) to 4 3/8 inches (females) long2.

Color and Appearance

These fascinating insects come in different colors, usually brown, green, or yellowish1. A single species can exhibit all three color phases1.


The praying mantis head is triangular in shape featuring very slender antennae and prominent compound eyes2. This unique head structure allows the mantis to be the only insect capable of looking over its shoulder3.

Wings and Legs

Mantises possess front wings that are leathery and narrow1. The most notable characteristic of praying mantis is their strong, modified front legs shaped for grasping prey1.

Camouflage and Vision

Praying mantis employ effective camouflage to blend with their environment, aiding in predation and protection from predators4. Their excellent vision allows them to detect and react to movements from a distance5.

Key Characteristics of Praying Mantis:

  • Sizes range from 2 to 5 inches1
  • Colors: brown, green, or yellowish1
  • Triangular head with slender antennae and compound eyes2
  • Leathery, narrow front wings1
  • Modified, strong front legs for grasping prey1
  • Excellent camouflage and vision4

Common Praying Mantis Species

European Mantis

The European Mantis (Mantis religiosa) is a popular mantis species native to Europe. They have the following features:

  • Size: 2-3 inches (5-7.5 cm) long
  • Colors: Green or brown

They are known to be aggressive hunters and have become widespread in North America 1.

Chinese Mantis

The Chinese Mantis (Tenodera aridifolia) is a common non-native species2. Here are some of its characteristics:

  • Size: 3-5 inches (7.5-12.5 cm) long
  • Colors: Green or light brown

They hold the title for the largest mantis species in North America while also being docile and easier to handle.

European Mantis Chinese Mantis
Size 2-3 inches (5-7.5 cm) 3-5 inches (7.5-12.5 cm)
Colors Green or Brown Green or Light Brown
Native Region Europe China

Giant Asian Praying Mantis

The Giant Asian Praying Mantis (Hierodula membranacea) is known for their large size and attractive colors. They can be found in:

  • Asia, particularly Southeast Asia
  • Size: 3-5 inches (7.5-12.5 cm) long

Orchid Mantis

The Orchid Mantis (Hymenopus coronatus) is famous for its unique, beautiful appearance. It’s most notable for its:

  • Pink and white coloration
  • Mimicry of orchid flowers

These mantids attract their prey through their deceiving appearance, resembling a delicate flower.

Wandering Violin Mantis

Among the most strangely shaped mantids, the Wandering Violin Mantis (Gongylus gongylodes) has several interesting features:

  • Extremely elongated body and legs
  • Colors: Light brown or tan
  • Resembles a violin or twig

Native to South Asia, they use their unique appearance for camouflage when hunting prey.

Habitats and Distribution

Geographical Locations

Praying mantids can be found in various parts of the world, including Asia, Africa, Australia, North America, and the United States. In the US, the European praying mantis has become Connecticut’s state insect.

Garden and Forest Environments

These insects thrive in different environments, such as:

  • Gardens
  • Forests
  • Vegetation with adequate humidity and temperature

Their survival depends on their ability to camouflage and blend in with their surroundings.

Relationship with Farmers

Farmers appreciate mantids because they help control pests in their gardens. However, they are not highly selective and may consume beneficial insects as well.

Conservation Status

While the European praying mantis is Connecticut’s state insect, it is not under any additional protection, as it is not considered threatened or endangered.

Praying Mantis as Pets

Housing and Tank Requirements

When keeping a praying mantis as a pet, it’s essential to provide proper housing. A well-ventilated tank with a minimum size of 12x12x12 inches is advised. Key components to include are:

  • Branches or sticks for climbing
  • Foliage for hiding
  • A mesh lid for ventilation

Temperature and Humidity Control

Controlling the temperature and humidity is vital for your mantis’s wellbeing. Maintain a temperature of 70-85°F (21-29°C) and humidity levels of 30-60%. You can achieve this with:

  • A heat mat or heat lamp
  • A humidity gauge
  • Misting the tank occasionally with water

Feeding and Handling Tips

Praying mantises in captivity require live prey, usually:

  • Flies
  • Crickets
  • Moths

Feed your mantis every 1-2 days, depending on its size and species. Handling a praying mantis should be done carefully, as they are delicate creatures. Gently use both hands to scoop the mantis, allowing it to walk onto your hand, rather than grabbing it.

Comparison Table

Feature Praying Mantis
Tank Size 12x12x12 inches
Temperature 70-85°F (21-29°C)
Humidity 30-60%
Prey Live insects
Feeding Frequency Every 1-2 days
Handling Difficulty Delicate

Predators and Defense Mechanisms

Natural Enemies of Praying Mantises

Praying mantises face various predators in their environment, including:

  • Birds: Many bird species feed on insects, thus posing a threat to mantises.
  • Frogs: These amphibians are known for their insect consumption, making mantises a potential meal.
  • Spiders: Some larger spider species may prey on smaller mantises.
  • Small mammals: Insects like mantises can sometimes fall victim to small mammals.
  • Bats: As major insect eaters, bats may also target praying mantises.
  • Snakes: Although less common, some snakes and reptiles might also consume praying mantises.

However, these fascinating insects have developed various defense strategies to help them survive against their predators.

Camouflage and Other Defense Strategies

Camouflage plays a crucial role in protecting mantises from their natural predators. Some mantis species can blend with their surroundings due to their green, brown, or yellowish coloration1. This disguise allows them to avoid detection from predators and ambush prey more effectively.

In addition to camouflage, praying mantises possess other forms of defense:

  • Rapid strikes: Their powerful forelegs can deliver quick and strong strikes to subdue threats.
  • Mouthparts: Mantises have specialized cutting mouthparts, enabling them to tear through insect exteriors2.
Praying Mantis Defense How it Helps
Camouflage Blends with surroundings to avoid detection
Rapid strikes Quickly subdue threats or prey
Specialized mouthparts Effectively consume prey and deter threats

These defense mechanisms contribute to the praying mantis’ ability to survive in their natural habitat, with some species living up to 12 months in the wild.


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Reader Emails

Over the years, our website, has received hundreds of letters and some interesting images asking us about these insects. Scroll down to have a look at some of them.

Letter 1 – Mediterranean Mantis


Subject: What’s this bug?
Location: Palm Desert, CA
December 28, 2012 1:02 pm
Sighted in yard in Palm Desert, CA today(Dec 28, 2012)?
Signature: PK

Mediterranean Mantis

Dear PK,
This appears to be a native Preying Mantis, the California Mantis,
Stagmomantis californica.  You can read about this native species on BugGuide and compare your female to this photo showing both a green and brown color variation.

Mediterranean Mantis

Correction:  Thanks to a comment from one of our readers, we have made an adjustment to the posting to indicate that this is a female Mediterranean Mantis which can be viewed on BugGuide.

Letter 2 – Mexican Unicorn Mantis from Costa Rica


Subject: Costa Rica mantis
Location: Costa Rica
December 14, 2013 1:21 pm
hi, when I went to Costa Rica I came upon this particular kind of mantis. they were large, about 6 in, and fairly common. judging by the forelimbs and posture I think it’s a type of stick mantis, but I can’t find their exact name, please help.
thank you
Signature: Andrew

Mantis from Costa Rica
Texas Unicorn Mantis from Costa Rica

Dear Andrew,
The most unusual features of your Mantis which should aid in the identification are the upturned ends of the wings and the unusual antennae.  We will attempt to determine a proper genus or species identification for you.

Mantis from Costa Rica
Texas Unicorn Mantis from Costa Rica

Update:  This male in this photo of a mating pair of Mantids on the Life in Costa Rica blog looks very much like your individual, but alas, the species is not identified.

Mantis from Costa Rica
Texas Unicorn Mantis from Costa Rica

Identification courtesy of Karl
December 17, 2013
Re: Mantis from Costa Rica – December 15, 2013
Hi Daniel and Andrew:
It looks like a Texas Unicorn Mantis, also known as the Mexican Unicorn Mantis, Phyllovates chlorophaea (family Mantidae: subfamily Vatinae: tribe Vatini). The species ranges from Texas to northern South America. There are actually two species of Phyllovates in Costa Rica, the other is P. cornuta, and Daniel’s photos don’t really provide enough information for me to definitively say it is one or the other. The August, 2012 issue of the UK Mantis Forums Newsletter has an excellent article by Gillian Higgins entitled “Species of Phyllovates in Costa Rica” (scroll down to page 8). Perhaps you can decide for yourself using her descriptions. Regards.  Karl

Thanks so much Karl.  Your identifications are always so insightful.



Letter 3 – Mantis survives Hurricane Sandy


Subject: Praying Mantis
Location: long island
November 1, 2012 5:54 pm
My husband found this little girl(i think) after Hurricane Sandy. She is not in the best shape and we would like to know what to do for her so that she can possibly survive.
Signature: Danielle

Chinese Mantis

Hi Danielle,
We believe this is a female Chinese Mantis, and she looks like she may produce an ootheca or egg sac if given the chance.  Mantids only live a single season, and in colder climates, they generally do not survive the first frost, however, you can likely extend this individuals lifespan in captivity.  A small aquarium or terrarium will make an excellent habitat.  Mist her daily so that she doesn’t dry out and you can feed her crickets which are generally available at most pet stores.  Though the lower beasts have not gotten the same level of attention in the media post-Sandy, no doubt many birds and animals also perished in the storm.  We are tagging this post with the Bug Humanitarian Award.

Thanks for the info. Unfortunately the girl was too far gone by the time my husband got her home. She was found in the middle of a dealership garage after being closed for 2 days. She was really cold and we did our best to warm her up and get her some bugs to eat. I did think that she was about to produce eggs from the look of her so we did put her in a bowl with some leaves and branches. But it was all too late.
I love your site. Thanks to your site the cicada killers had a nice home this summer. Last year we were told we were told that they were highly aggressive. Also house centipedes have been allowed to live now that I found out that they are harmless.

Hi again Danielle,
You truly do deserve the Bug Humanitarian Award.

Letter 4 – Mantis Threatening


great pic of a praying mantis
Hi Whats that bug,
I wanted to submit a picture of a Praying Mantis I took. My son found this guy on our road. I could not resist scooping up the camera and taking this shot. We live in the country so we see them every now and again. The Praying Mantis has always been my favorite bug! I used to catch them all the time when I was a kid. I am still just as amazed by them as an adult! Thought you might enjoy this picture.
Shari McCollough
Crawfordsville, IN

Hi Shari,
Thanks for the view of what the insect sees just before the Mantis preys.

Letter 5 – Mantis Threesome: Interspecies Action!!!


Preying Mantids
I recently came across these pictures which I had taken with my digital camera in October 2005. I live in the pinelands in southern New Jersey and was excited to find these Preying Mantids on my mother’s front porch. They sat still for a very long time, and didn’t seem concerned at all with the ogling and maneuvering I did in my attempt to get some decent photographs of them. The strange thing to me is the fact that there were three of them involved (hard to see in one of the pictures), which I assume to be two males clutching one female. Maybe one fellow is waiting his turn? They appear to be very patient creatures… more patient than I since I didn’t have time to stick around and see if she left any survivors.

Hi Shari,
Thank you for the great photos. This is the second Mantis Threesome we received this year, but the first submission were Mantids in captivity.

Ed. Note:  Thanks to a reader’s comments, we now know that these two Chinese males are attempting interspecies coupling (or should we say tripling?) with this European female.

Letter 6 – Mantis Threesome: Raising Mantises as pets!!!


mantis news
We just found your site and thoroughly enjoyed it. I am sending you some pictures of our mantises from this past year. Believe it or not, we have two that are still alive and kicking into 2006! One is about 2 inches long and the other is a giant mantis about 4 inches long. This year our smaller mantis laid 8 egg sacs and the larger one has laid 3 giant sacs. My daughter is a big mantis fan and has kept them for pets for the past few years. This is the longest we have had them survive. Most die in Nov or early December. Every year we learn new things. This year we had two males and one female and wanted to see what would happen with two… it was very interesting! As you can see in the picture, both got on her back and hung out there, waiting their turn, so to speak, and it actually looked as if they were communicating with each other while waiting… funny. It was hard to get a picture with the two of them but I did my best. Thanks for your site!
Christine and Elena

Hi Christine and Elena,
Thank you for your wonderful New Year’s message. Your photos are a fabulous addition to our site.

Letter 7 – Mantis threeway


Preying Mantis Threesome
Hi Bugman!
I just stumbled across your fantastic website while searching for pictures of a Mantis Threesome. No, I’m not a pervert! I just found these guys “doing it” at my kitchen window and since I’ve never seen Mantis Lovin’ before, I wanted to see how common it was for two males to be attempting to mate with one female. At one point while taking pictures, I’m quite sure she said, “Will you please get this knuckleheads off me???”. Blessings,
Amy Jordan
Andrews, Texas

Hi Amy,
If you have looked at our site closely, you know that we have received another documentation of Preying Mantis group sex. Thanks for sending us your excellent candid documentation of this not quite rare occurrance.

Letter 8 – Mating Mantids


My Apex pet…
Hello and good day, I just wanted to first say that your site is by far the best for mantis pictures and stories. Bravo! I have two mantis, both female. One of them is a Carolina Mantid and the one in these pics is physically different with its left wing having a spot on it that looks more like a eye. It is a yellow circle with a black spot in the middle. Its only on one side and she doesn’t have a black spot on its chest like my other pet mantids have had. I would appreciate the help. Now with the crazy story, I caught my first mantid of the year early in the summer nearly four months ago, she travels every with us, chilling out in her special travel case. Her name is Superwoman for the unusually large black spot on her chest. She will eat 2 Grasshoppers everyday if I feed her that much but I usually just give her three every two days and she stays pleasantly fat and too heavy to even fly! Believe it or not she has only flown away once and she made it about a foot and just fell and never tried that again. I have had her since the first molt and she went from solid green to dark mottled brown like the sticks I put in her terrarium. But it’s my other mantis, KILLena, that takes the cake as the apex predator in the house. I had three in total, two females and one male, last night I decided to try and mate the newest edition KILLena and a grass type mantis. I put the two of them together and as soon as I did Killena froze into position and starting swaying back and forth as if it were a mating dance. The male mantis, Rosevelt (because I found him in my rosemary herb garden tracking a butterfly), started to move into position for copulation. As it made its way down a stick near KILLena she reached out faster than I had ever seen one ambush its prey, and snatched him up by the head and claws and commenced to eating the head!! I thought they did that that after they copulated but not KILLena!! She then chewed off the front claws and rendered him defenseless, munching on its upper half with one claw and has his mid-section in the other claw. Rosevelt amazingly was still moving! Not just moving but walking around, slightly clumsier but still walking up and down sticks like it knew what was going on. Eventually he made his way to KILLena’s body and jumped on the back and began reproducing!!!! just a fraction of his upper half was left and he was still completing his routine!! In the midst of that she noticed the fresh grasshopper I dropped inside earlier that day and snatched it up as well!! this is how she got the name KILLena, while munching on a grasshopper, after eating the head of her new found mate, she was making babies!! How great is that!! These pics should really explain a few things about mantids as pets and how they work and the order in which they eat their prey. I got quite a few camera angles and she even seemed to pose and smile for to take more, meanwhile not missing a single bite in between snaps of the shutter. Please enjoy these pics and feel free to share them with the world. Ill be updating you guys when she lays the sack and we hatch them. Till then Have a great day and remember, watch where you step, there is a whole ‘nother world beneath your feet!!!!
Proud Parent from Missouri

Dear Proud Parent,
Thank you for the graphic story.

Letter 9 – Mating Mantids


Bug Love
Location: Missouri
November 20, 2010 2:38 pm
I took these photo of a lovely pair of praying mantises mating in the garden bed. The male seems to be of a rather unusual color morph. I regret to say I did not stay long enough to discover the result of the relationship, or whether the male survived the encounter. I believe they may be Carolina mantises (stagmomantis carolina), but I’m not sure.
Signature: Helen

Mating Mantids

Hi Helen,
Sadly, there is not enough detail in your image for us to conclusively identify the species, but the Carolina Mantis is a possibility.

Letter 10 – Mating Mantids


Subject: Romantic Bug Love
Location: SLC, UT
September 7, 2012 5:57 pm
Hi Bugman,
Caught these two lovebirds enjoying themselves in my vertical pallet garden. The last picture included is the scene of the crime. Thought you might like this picture for your bug love collection. Enjoy.
Signature: Jules

Mating Mantids

Hi Jules,
Thanks for sending your photo of mating Mantids.  You did not indicate if you purchased Mantis Ootheca to help control insects in your vertical pallet garden.

Vertical Pallet Garden and Mantid Habitat

Hi Daniel,
Sorry my reply is so delayed! Yes, we did buy a mantis nest for our vegetable garden, however there was already an old egg nest (is that what you call it?) on the fence right above the “lovebirds” in the picture I sent you. At least I think that is what it is. I will attach a picture.

Mantis Ootheca

Hi again Jules,
The new photo you sent is indeed a Mantis Ootheca or Egg Case.

Letter 11 – Mating Mantids from New Zealand: Natural Selection at its finest!!! …


Mantis awesome foursome
I just found your site, when trying to find out how to recognise whether a mantis egg case had hatched or not. How do you tell? Anyway, I see that you accept bug photos, so thought you may like this one for your site. The female has three males “in close attendance” – they stayed like this on a flat leaf parsley plant for ages. I suspect the mating was successful because we had a lot of small mantis offspring in our garden the next season. I did not want to disturb them, so am not sure if they are the New Zealand native variety or the South African variety that arrived in NZ about 1978. I suspect it is our own native, judging by the egg cases in the garden, and I am sure the ones I have seen have the blue spot on the legs (missing in the SA variety). I think you can see it on one of the males in the picture. Best wishes

Wow John,
What an awesome image. We really like the education we receive from our international readership. We had no idea that the native New Zealand Mantis, Orthodera novaezealandiae, was being threathened by the imported South African species, Miomantis caffra. We found a link that has some information. We agree that the distinctive blue spot on the inner surface of the male’s foreleg identifies your randy group as the New Zealand Mantis.

… and Survival of the Fittest as the Greatest Detriment to Species Diversification
Hi Daniel
Thanks for the response and post. Yes, our native wildlife of all kinds is under attack from visitors from offshore, whether introduced deliberately or by accident. Immigration from Europe only began in earnest in the mid 19thC, and all sorts of beasties came then, to find a country where the indigenous life was ill-equipped to cope. Introductions have intensified in recent decades with air travel an increased inward migration from many parts of the world. We are currently having major problems trying to eradicate various mosquitos that have arrived in recent years – these bugs are capable of carrying all sorts of nasty diseases that don’t exist here – yet. Of course none of them have natural enemies in this country so they flourish. Asian paper wasps are another pest, and other wasps that thrive on beech forest honey dew have caused depletion of native birds as well as native insects, not to mention making many popular places unsuitable for picnics or tramping (hiking or bush walking). Congratulations on your site. This may be a useful link for you:

Hi John,
Thanks so much for your touching update. We are constantly having to justify our own disdain for travel as well as having to explain why we have chosen not to visit each and every one of the wonderful places in the world there are to see. We are appalled at the number of environmentally concerned individuals who want to travel to pristine endangered habitats to see the wildlife without realizing that their visit can do grave damage. People need to just “Stay Home” and preserve what they can.

Comment: In Defense of Ecotourism from Eric Eaton (12/31/2007)
Hi, Daniel:
I do have to politely disagree that ecotourism is always a bad thing. There is no substitute for international travel to gain a full appreciation of the natural and cultural history of other places on the planet. One has to travel responsibly, of course, and obey the rules and wishes of the host country. Hopefully, those who travel abroad bring back many valuable experiences that they need to share with others. Unrestricted trade in international commodities really IS a bad thing! Few protocols are in place to prevent infiltration by hitchhiking flora, fauna, and pathogens, and enforcement of those few existing regulations is even more pathetic. That is how most invasive species enter countries. Not with human travelers, but with imported goods.

Letter 12 – Mating Native Mantids on Woody Plant


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

Letter 13 – Mating Preying Mantids: Interspecies Action!!!


sexual dimorphism, Mantid sexual congresS?
daniel & lisa,
find attached .jpeg for your review. the male was somewhat larger than the female. and
attacked the camera last week. i can resend video if interested. took these two along time to finish they’re business. great sight. thanks,
west michigan

Mating Preying Mantids
Mating Preying Mantids

Hi Thomas,
Thanks for sending us your photo of mating Preying Mantids.  It is actually the female that is the larger of the two.  Thanks for your offer of video, but at the moment, we are not introducing this option to our website.

September 11, 2009
I am surprised no one commented to explain what is really happening here. What you see here is not an example of sexual dimorphism, but something I never saw before – and really worth noting – 2 different species of mantises trying to mate! The male on top is actually a male Chinese Mantis, Tenodera aridifolia sinensis, while the one on the bottom is a female European mantis, Mantis religiosa. It is very obvious to those of us who live in the Northeastern US and know a bit about mantises, that these are 2 different species. The picture is very clear – the Chinese has those vertical stripes on its face, the European does not. The European also has the eye spot on it’s inner ‘upper arm’ (coxa) that is easily visible. And the stripe along the wing is brown in the brown European, while the brown Chinese always has a green stripe. The only time I saw something similar was during the late 1970s, when a male Chinese TRIED to mate with a female Narrow Winged mantis (Tenodera angusti pennis) in my garden, and she promptly ate him before he had a chance. I wonder what sort of hybrid would come out of a Chinese and European….It does not look in the picture that he can get his abdomen onto hers, that she is too short, so I wonder what actually happened here…….
Mantis observer

Letter 14 – Mating Preying Mantids: Stagmomantis limbata


Mating Praying Mantis
Location:  El Dorado County, California
October 15, 2010 11:37 pm
I know this bug is a praying mantis. I was just surprised to see them in such an ”uh hum” embarassing position on my window. Perhaps your readers will find it interesting too. Obviously, as I just learned, the brown one is a male and the large green one is a female. They are still together for about 12 hrs now. I wonder if she will eat him when they are done. There also was another male nearby – I guess waiting to see if she will need another partner. He watched for several hours before deciding to fly away.
Signature:  Sexy Bugs

Mating Preying Mantids

Dear Sexy Bugs,
We wanted to identify your species so we tried BugGuide unsuccessfully, but we did discover this mating frenzy of a an unidentified Mantis Quintet from California on bugGuide.

Ed. NOte:  August 24, 2012
We just received a comment identifying these as
Stagmomantis limbata.

Letter 15 – Mating Preying Mantids


Mating Mantis’
Location:  Covina, CA
October 16, 2010 9:55 am
Hey there Bugman, I thought you’d appreciate a couple pictures I took of this pair in my back yard.
Signature:  Mark P.

Mating Preying Mantids

Hi Mark,
Thanks for this interesting photo of a pair of Preying Mantids mating.

Letter 16 – Mediterranean Mantis


Praying Mantis
Location:  Corona,CA
October 13, 2010 8:59 pm
I found a praying mantis at school in a bush. I was just wondering what kind it is.
Signature:  Freeman

Mediterranean Mantis

Dear Freeman,
We really love your photo of this Mediterranean Mantis in a threat posture.  You will find other images of Mediterranean Mantids in the threat posture on BugGuide.
According to BugGuide, it is a non-native species whose range is expanding.

Mediterranean Mantis


  • Bugman

    Bugman aka Daniel Marlos has been identifying bugs since 1999. is his passion project and it has helped millions of readers identify the bug that has been bugging them for over two decades. You can reach out to him through our Contact Page.

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  • Piyushi Dhir

    Piyushi is a nature lover, blogger and traveler at heart. She lives in beautiful Canada with her family. Piyushi is an animal lover and loves to write about all creatures.

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Tags: Praying Mantis

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