European or "Praying" Mantis (Mantis religiosa)
The European mantis, “Praying” mantis, is not native to Connecticut. It originated in Northern Africa, Southern Europe and temperate areas of Asia. The praying mantis can be found throughout the state from early May or June until the cold weather sets in, when they die rapidly. They are harmless to humans. Although probably not a significant factor in biological control, the praying mantis is a beneficial insect for farmers and is therefore a symbolic reminder of the importance of the natural environment to human and biological survival.
Large green, brown or tan insects depending on species. Size: 0.5 – 4 inches long (some can grow up to 6 inches in length) with relatively large heads. Antennae are relatively short. Legs are armed with spines to help capture and grasp prey. Middle and hind legs are slimmer. Narrow wings are long, folded fanlike and they cover the abdomen.
Prefer living in warmer climates that have mild winters. They live in gardens, forests or areas with green vegetation.
Widely distributed throughout the tropical, sub-tropical and warm temperate regions of the worlds. Many species are found in the North and South America, South Africa, Europe, the Southern parts of Asia and some parts of Australia.
Carnivores. Feed on aphids, flies, grasshoppers, small caterpillars and moths.
Up to 12 months in the wild.
After mating, females lay hundreds of eggs in a small case. Nymphs hatch from these eggs and have unmistakable resemblance to their parents.
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Contact Info: Connecticut's Beardsley Zoo 1875 Noble Avenue Bridgeport, CT 06610
Main Number: (203) 394-6565