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Mantids: Mantodea

Physical Characteristics, Habitat, Behavior And Reproduction, Wandering Violin Mantid (gongylus Gongylodes): Species AccountsGEOGRAPHIC RANGE, DIET, MANTIDS AND PEOPLE, CONSERVATION STATUS

WANDERING VIOLIN MANTID (Gongylus gongylodes): SPECIES ACCOUNTS
ORCHID MANTID (Hymenopus coronatus): SPECIES ACCOUNTS
DEAD-LEAF MANTID (Deroplatys lobata): SPECIES ACCOUNTS
EUROPEAN MANTID (Mantis religiosa): SPECIES ACCOUNTS
CHINESE MANTID (Tenodera aridifolia sinensis): SPECIES ACCOUNTS

Mantids are found worldwide in warm and tropical climates. There are twenty-three hundred species worldwide, mostly in the tropical rainforests of South America, Africa, and Southeast Asia. Many species are restricted to small areas, but others are found on more than one continent, having been accidentally introduced by humans to continents outside their range. Twenty species live in the United States and Canada.

Mantids will eat any small animal they can catch, including other mantids. They usually attack bees, butterflies, grasshoppers, and other insects, as well as spiders. On rare occasion they will attack small mice, lizards, frogs, and birds. They generally choose prey their own size or smaller. Right after hatching, mantid larvae (LAR-vee), or young, spend their first few weeks eating their brothers and sisters, aphids, and other small insects.

Some mantids are sold as pets and have become popular display animals in insect zoos. Another species is used extensively as a means of controlling plant pests without the use of harmful poisons. Throughout the United States people buy egg cases in the winter at nurseries and place them in their gardens to hatch in spring. However, young mantids will eat anything they can catch, including helpful insects as well as garden pests.

One species of mantid is listed by the World Conservation Union (IUCN) as Near Threatened, or likely to become threatened in the near future. There is very little information on most mantid populations; the greatest threats to them are habitat destruction and misuse of pesticides.

Additional topics

Animal Life ResourceInsects and Spiders