Life in the Rain Garden: Chinese Mantis

A Chinese mantis from the EIC Rain Garden earlier today. Not an unusual species for the area (they are thought to be widespread throughout North America — sold as pest control or raised as pets), but still interesting.

Chinese mantids are one of the largest species of mantis found in North America, growing up to 3 1/2 inches long. They are carnivorous, eating both “bad” bugs and “good bugs”, and are not afraid to attack prey twice their size. There are a few reports of Chinese mantids catching hummingbirds, and others of mantids eating mice. Much to some peoples’ chagrin, they also eat butterflies; if you find one in your butterfly garden and want to move it, just pick it up in a box or piece of paper and relocate it. They don’t bite… hard. (I’ve heard a mantis bite is similar to an ant’s bite… if you can confirm or deny that, let me know.)

We found an egg sac in the rain garden earlier this year — I wonder if this individual hails from that?

This one was found in some Butterfly Weed. It looked a lot like one of the seed pods (from a bird’s-eye-view perspective, anyway).

For more info:

http://bugguide.net/node/view/10098

http://www.uark.edu/ua/arthmuse/chiman.html

http://www.fcps.edu/islandcreekes/ecology/chinese_mantid.htm

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