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Are Praying Mantis Endangered? – Mantis Conservation Status

why are praying mantis endangered
Getty Images/Paul Starosta

Praying mantises are not endangered they never were. Some people have long assumed that mantises are not only endangered—they’re also protected by federal or local laws and that it’s illegal to kill one in the wild. However, belief such as this doesn’t seem to stand to any logical explanation for the mantises are not even close to endangerment. Let’s see why!

Are Praying Mantis Endangered?

why are praying mantis endangered
Getty Images/Paul Starosta

Worldwide, there are more than 2,000 species of mantis but none of them is threatened or likely to die in near future. North America is home to around 20 praying mantis species. Most North American species including mantis are not endangered.

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There are few places (like Belgium) where mantises are protected legally along with butterflies and other bugs but the overall population appears to be stable. None of the North American mantis is thought to be endangered. There are no legal consequences for killing a mantis in the United States either. However cruel it might seem to be, killing a mantis isn’t against the law.

READ: [ Praying Mantis Predators ]

All the above rumors might have possibly originated from Ancient Egyptians and Africans or early civilizations because they consider mantises as a species possessing supernatural powers. Even so, people worship mantises in some parts of the world. Mantises aren’t poisonous nor do they threaten human fields. In fact they are considered as beneficial insects because they eat harmful bugs. Therefore, the conservation status of a praying mantis is currently out of the question.

A myth circulated in urban areas since 1950s claiming that praying mantises were endangered and that it was illegal to kill them here in the United States. It would be a shame for such a harmless and useful creature to be killed. However, there is no reason to believe that they are protected or endangered. North America contains more than 20 species. None are endangered.

Is Killing a Praying Mantis in Ohio against Ohio Law? Is it okay to use a Walking Stick instead?

My knowledge is that it is legal to kill praying mentises and walking stick. They are not listed as endangered species. You may have to make walking sticks or mantises illegal under local or state law. Although it may not be illegal, it is very dangerous to kill praying mentises. They are a beneficial insect. They are beneficial insects that can be eaten by harmful insects and are commonly used by greenhouse owners as well as gardeners.

There are no federal or state laws that prohibit the killing of praying mantises. They are useful insects that can be left alone because they eat lots of bugs we consider pests. But they aren’t an endangered species. (If they were endangered and killed, there would be a far greater fine than $50. Because they’re beneficial insects and because of their unusual posture (they’re praying for our sake!) They were considered to be a criminal offense by many people.

Praying Mantis Life Cycle – Facts, Diagram, Stages, Video

praying mantis life cycle

The life cycle of just about every insect begins with the egg stage and ends in adulthood. There are four life stages in an insect’s life cycle. If it completes all four stages of a life cycle the individual species is said to complete a metamorphosis stage. However, not every species undergoes a complete metamorphosis. There are some that has only three life stages. Praying mantis is one of them. Furthermore, the mantis doesn’t only undergo an incomplete metamorphosis—the young and adult mantises look almost entirely the same.

Praying Mantis Life Cycle Facts

The Egg Stage

  • The life cycle of a mantis starts with an egg. The female produces 100 to as many as 400 eggs only few days before winter. She will deposit all eggs in a frothy liquid case one that protects the eggs not only from predators but also from extreme weather.
  • The eggs are laid on a stem and the entire egg structure is called ootheca. The eggs overwinter while the female dies immediately after that.

READ: [ How Long Do Orchid Mantis Live? ]

praying mantis life cycle

The Nymph Stage

  • As the winter is over and the spring arrives, the young mantis will crawl from inside the tiny valve-like structures to see the outside world perhaps for the first time. The young mantis will be known as nymphs.
  • These nymphs are extremely hungry that sometimes they feast on one another. The baby mantis will soon find their way out to look for small insects such as fruit flies.
  • The nymph stage of a praying mantis is highly susceptible to potential predators. That is why most nymphs just couldn’t reach adulthood. They will shed their exoskeletons five to six times before attaining adulthood. However young the mantis may be, it will look exactly like an adult mantis except for the fact that nymphs do not have a strong defense.

The Adult Stage

  • praying mantis life cycleThe adulthood is the last stage for a mantis. On reaching adulthood mantises do not only make up their living pretty dominantly they become the predators of most other species. Adult mantis likely spends much of its summer time hunting and looking for arthropods.
  • Now they are strong enough to take down prey as large as a bird. Hummingbirds and European robins are the most favorite mantis’ prey. Unlike nymphs, adult mantises do not have to live a miserable life anymore.
  • The adult mantis molts numerous times before attaining its full size. They starve hours before they molt and mantises become highly vulnerable to predators at the time of molting because the molting continues for few hours. But when the molting completes successfully the mantis will resume its hunting activities and turn out to be stronger and more active than before.

Praying Mantis Life Cycle – Video

How Many Babies does a Praying Mantis have?

how many babies does a praying mantis have

Praying mantis lays a minimum of 100 eggs. All these eggs are hatched at once so the parents must have greater responsibility to feed young mantises immediately right? That isn’t quite true because the female mantis dies after laying eggs. The female mantis is known to produce 100 to 200 eggs sometimes even more than that. Some of the bigger species such as Chinese mantis female can lay up to 300 eggs over a period of few weeks.

The mantis’ eggs overwinter and they are mostly hatched in April or May. All these eggs remain pretty safe inside the ootheca (a hard-shelled protective case). As the spring arrived, young mantises will begin to emerge from the eggs, all at once. One cannot observe newborn mantises unless juveniles come out of the ootheca. The reason why hatching occurs in April is because the food is abundant in spring. Young praying mantis come out of ootheca one after the other and as they manage to crawl out of the shell juveniles jump to the ground. After jumping they will look for food into the green vegetation. That’s how all baby mantises survive without even their parents nurturing them.

How Many Babies does a Praying Mantis have? – Video

Do Praying Mantis Eat Ants?

do praying mantis eat ants

The praying mantis’ primary diet is probably not as varied as its habitat. They mainly feed on arthropods, small birds, bugs, honey bees, and flies. However, mantis eating ants isn’t really out of the question. Ants do possess pretty reasonable defense against predators but they do not stand chance against a predator such as mantis.

Do Praying Mantis Eat Ants?

Adult mantises reaching the size of 4 to 5 inches are thought to chew ants live. They can barely get away once the mantis grabs them. Ants grow only 6 to 12 mm in length—nearly one-fifth of a mantis’ length. Mantises are cryptically colored ranging from brown, green to as bright as orchid flowers.

They get easily lost into the African brown grass or lush green vegetation of Central America. They are the masters of camouflage. Praying mantises go unnoticed even when ants get few millimeters closer to them. Therefore, mantises do not have to lure ants to come right to them.

You might also like: Do Praying Mantis Bite?

do praying mantis eat ants

Do Praying Mantis Change Color? – Praying Mantis Adaptations

do praying mantis change color
A dead leaf mantis, nearly indistinguishable from its habitat. CreditArt Wolfe/Science Source

Praying mantises are so cryptically colored and shaped that sometimes they get disappeared into their wild habitat. For those species that inhabit green vegetation they take the green shade while others including Carolina, they mimic orchid flowers and so on. However, do you really ever wonder if mantises are essentially camouflaged or they just change color to become one? Let’s see that!

Do Praying Mantis Change Color?

do praying mantis change color
A dead leaf mantis, nearly indistinguishable from its habitat.
CreditArt Wolfe/Science Source

While mantises aren’t generally known to take up their body color so they blend into the background like chameleons do, scientists claim that a few mantis species actually change color. Lately, the amazing mimetic abilities of a praying mantis caught the attention of researchers.

The European mantis (M. religiosa) is one such species that is thought to change color. It is predominantly occur in brown-grass habitats as well as green vegetation. Studies suggest that M. religiosa transforms into green-color body while it lives within the green grass. They do so right after they moult.

do praying mantis change color

According to researchers, the overall temperature of a mantis’ habitat; the humidity, and the light intensity play key role in the regarding mantis’ adaptations. But scientists claim that only baby praying mantis is capable to change its color. Adult mantises are just too bright for this.

Do Praying Mantis Change Color? – Video


HURD L. E., EISEMBERG R. M., 1984.- Experimental density manipulations of the predator Tenodera sinensis (Orthoptera: Mantidae) in an old-field community. I. Mortality, development and dispersal of juvenile mantids.- Journal of Animal Ecology, 53: 269-281.

Praying Mantis Mating Ritual, Habits, and Facts

praying mantis mating facts

The mating behavior of a praying mantis in the wild has been the subject of longstanding debate since the second half of the 19th century yet no convincing studies came to the fore. However, lately scientists are beginning to take interest as to how mantids mate in the wild; what are the peak mating months and days, and how males and female both get together as the breeding season arrives. This article is an attempt to answer these questions.

Praying Mantis Mating Facts – How Do Praying Mantis Mate? – When Do Mantis Mate? – Time of Year & Time of Day

When Do Mantises Mature?

Adult mantis is known to mate probably in the first week of eclosion. Eclosion is a biological process in which the nymph turns into an adult. One of the females of S. carolina copulates nearly five times after reaching adulthood. Sometimes a male mantid can copulate within just 30 hours following eclosion.

Scientists believe that many mantis species are most likely to mate within 14 days following adulthood. Nonetheless, the European mantis (Mantis religiosa) female is not thought to release pheromones until she becomes 14 days old.

Therefore every species has its own maturation time but the overall conclusion is that males likely copulate earlier than the females. Studies suggest that males can copulate as early as 7 days whereas no females younger than 14 day have been observed to copulate.

Read More Do Praying Mantis Die after Laying Eggs?

praying mantis mating rituals
Mantises mating at night. The female is significantly greater than the male.

When Do Praying Mantis Mate? – Mating Months

For those mantids’ population that inhabits temperate habitats the mating begins in August and ends in November. This includes mantis living in the northern California, Maryland, and Portugal. Mantis’ eggs however overwinter so they are hatched in April and June the following year.

In some parts of the world, adult mantises survive all throughout the year particularly in western Africa and Trinidad. The African mantis’ population appears to spend many months in mating.

When Do Praying Mantis Mate? – Mating Hours

Since male mantis does all the hard work such as looking for a female; following pheromones; and approaching her during daytime, it’s logical to assume that mating occurs somewhere in the daylight hours. For instance Mediterranean mantis (Iris oratoria) and Arizona mantis (Stagmomantis limbata) mounts the female around 1200 and 1800 hours. Scientists claim that these are peak mating hours for a praying mantis.

But, not all species mate at noon for there are some such as the South American dead leaf mantis (Acanthops falcata) that mate minutes after the first light of the day i.e. dawn. A few species are observed mating even in full-moon nights although it is too rare to occur. However, scientists do believe that since researchers have their own limitations that is they just can’t observe mantis mating at night that doesn’t mean all mantises are diurnal. The Mantis religiosa was once seen approaching the female after sunset.

Read More Praying Mantis Egg Sack

praying mantis mating facts

How Do Praying Mantises Communicate to Mate?

Worldwide, insects will communicate their intentions to the mating partner in three main signals; namely, visual, chemical, and mechanical.

Mechanical signals involve calling out their partners loudly. Mantises have been known to produce sounds by rubbing their underwings and abdomen or simply scrapping but they do this in order to display threats. Consequently it means that mantises do not mate using mechanical signals.

Chemical signals involve discharging some kind of a chemical to tempt the mating partner. The female mantids will release pheromones when she’s willing to mate. The male will find the female by following these pheromones. According to the scientists, the M. religiosa female attracts the male from as far a distance as 100 meters away. In species, where females are flightless and live a sedentary lifestyle the pheromones are going to be discharged from far off.

Mantids just don’t rely on visual signals in an attempt to look for their mating partner.

Praying Mantis Mating – video