Mantis religiosa

Physical characteristics: Adult European mantid males range in length from 2 to 2.5 inches (5 to 6 centimeters), while the females are 2.5 to 3.2 inches (6 to 8 centimeters). They vary in color from light green to brown. The inside of each foreleg has a distinctive bull's-eye-like spot.

Geographic range: This species is distributed throughout southern Europe, sub-Saharan Africa, temperate Asia, Australia, the northeastern United States, and Canada.

Habitat: The species prefers living in open fields and meadows. Diet: They eat small insects.

Behavior and reproduction: European mantids are usually well hidden among low shrubs. They are strong flyers and are attracted to bright lights at night.

European mantids are usually well hidden among low shrubs. They are strong flyers and are attracted to bright lights at night. (©Michael Lustbader/Photo Researchers, Inc. Reproduced by permisson.)

Each egg case contains from fifty to one hundred eggs. The cases are laid in fall and are attached to low grasses and on rocks or buildings. The larvae hatch the following spring.

European mantids and people: This species does not have any effect on people or their activities.

Conservation status: This widespread species is not endangered or threatened. They are slowly expanding their range in North America. ■

European mantids are usually well hidden among low shrubs. They are strong flyers and are attracted to bright lights at night. (©Michael Lustbader/Photo Researchers, Inc. Reproduced by permisson.)

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