Praying Mantis

Praying Mantis

Probably the best know beneficial insect, the praying mantis (Tenodera aridifolia sinensis) gets its name from its two thick front legs lined with spikes for grasping prey. It is quick to strike and will eat just about any insect, bad and good, including wasps and bees.

Large, green and tan Chinese mantis are most often sold as egg cases which can yield up to 200 and more small adults (some pet stores carry single mature adults for housing in terrariums and other enclosed environments). Two to three weeks of warm temperatures allow the eggs to hatch. The newly hatched insects squeeze through the egg sac, leaving it intact, and disperse quickly without leaving behind a clue that hatching has occurred. It takes as much as five months for mantises to reach full size. Females, will lay up to five egg sacs on stalks, stems, and twigs during the course of their lives. Raising praying mantids makes for a fascinating science project, one that involves acute observation and effective feeding regimens to prevent cannibalism.

Egg Case
Nymphs
Adult
Mantis Egg Case
Mantis Nymphs
Praying Mantis

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