Mantis religiosa is a mantis species native to temperate areas of Europe, Asia and northern Africa, but has spread around the world and is now well established across the United States and into Canada. Outside of Europe it is known as the European mantis; in Europe, it is known simply as the preying mantis. It was introduced to the eastern US in 1899. In 1977 it officially became the state insect of Connecticut. The European mantis is 5-7.5 cm long, usually a shade of green with brown, usually well camouflaged in its surroundings, and also difficult to see because of its usually motionless stance. There are several other similarly large mantis species also commonly found in the United States: the Mediterranean mantis (Isis oragoria), the Chinese mantis (Tenodera aridigolia, and the native Carolina mantis (Stagmomantis carolina). The European mantis can be distinguished from these by a distinctive black bulls-eye pattern on its coxae (most proximal segment) of the fore leg.
Although a carnivore and an impressive predator, this mantis is completely harmless to humans and a beneficial species in that it eats many harmful insects, including the gypsy moth caterpillar, many aphids, flies, mites, grasshoppers and, when an individual comes upon another mantis, will show cannibalistic behavior. Thus, European mantises are solitary insects, coming together to mate only once a year. Females are known to eat the males after mating.
Females lay about 100 eggs in a white hardened foam ootheca (egg case) which they cement to a tree branch or leaf. The juveniles, miniature versions of adults, hatch in early spring, and are wind dispersed, or serve as nourishment for their siblings.
(Bartelt 2011; Ct.gov 2002; WSU 2011; Wikipedia 2011)
Molecular Biology and Genetics
Barcode data: Mantis religiosa
Below is the sequence of the barcode region Cytochrome oxidase subunit 1 (COI or COX1) from a member of the species.
See the BOLD taxonomy browser for more complete information about this specimen.
Other sequences that do not yet meet barcode criteria may also be available.
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Download FASTA File
Statistics of barcoding coverage: Mantis religiosa
Public Records: 1
Specimens with Barcodes: 6
Species With Barcodes: 1
National NatureServe Conservation Status
Rounded National Status Rank: NNR - Unranked
Mantis religiosa, with the common name praying mantis, and outside Europe the European mantis, is an insect in the family Mantidae. It is one of the most well-known and widespread species of the order Mantodea, the Mantis.
It is an example of a common name for a single insect species becoming used for a larger group of related species. "Mantis" now refers to the insect order Mantodea, and the other families, genera, and species within it. Other examples are "hornet" and "wasp."
Mantis religiosa is native to Europe, Asia, and Africa. It was introduced to North America in 1899 on a shipment of nursery plants from southern Europe. Now it is found from the Northeastern United States to the Pacific Northwest, and across Canada.
The European mantis is usually 5–7.5 cm (2–3 inches) in length, and has shades of bright green to tan. It can be distinguished easily by a black-ringed spot beneath the fore coxae.
- Mantis religiosa beybienkoi found in Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Mongolia and West Siberia
- Mantis religiosa caucasica found in Stavropol
- Mantis religiosa eichleri found in Ethiopia, Mauritania, Niokolo-Koba, Ghana, Cameroon, Kenya, Congo, Niger, Senegal, Somalia, Sudan, Tanzania, Togo, Zimbabwe, Burkina Faso, Zambia and Anatolia
- Mantis religiosa inornata found in India, Iran
- Mantis religiosa langoalata found in Uzbekistan
- Mantis religiosa latinota found in Kazakhstan
- Mantis religiosa macedonica found in Macedonia
- Mantis religiosa major
- Mantis religiosa polonica found in Poland, Russia
- Mantis religiosa religiosa found in United States (introduced), Europe.
- Mantis religiosa siedleckii found in Southeast Asia: Taiwan, Thailand, Malaysia, Java, Sulawesi
- Mantis religiosa sinica found in China, Japan, South Korea, Vietnam and East Africa
Adult male Mantis religiosa in Saône-et-Loire (71, France) in September, 2008
Brown adult male Mantis religiosa 2008 October, Cerreto Ratti, Alessandria
Mantis religiosa nymph, France
Green adult female Mantis religiosa, France
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