Carolina mantis

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Carolina mantis

Carolina mantis in praying position
Scientific classification
Kingdom:Animalia
Phylum:Arthropoda
Class:Insecta
Order:Mantodea
Family:Mantidae
Genus:Stagomantis
Species:carolina
Binomial name
Stagomantis carolina

The Carolina mantis or mantid (Stagomantis carolina) is the state insect of South Carolina. It is also called a praying mantis. This is but one of many species of Mantodea (genus Stagomantis). The Carolina Mantis is the smallest of the three types native to North America. It can grow up to 7.6 cm or about 3 inches in length. In the South it is known as rearhorse or mulekiller.

The Carolina Mantis has a dusty brown or gray color used to camouflage with the pine forests and sand hills of the Southeastern part of the United States. A distinguishing trait is that its wings only extend three quarters of the way down the abdomen.

Close-up picture of the mantis head.
Enlarge
Close-up picture of the mantis head.

It is sometimes kept as a pet, as a large, easily cultured insect. It also, unlike most insects, will turn its head to watch a person or an insect that it is attempting to catch.

It is a voracious predator, capturing many insects in the course of its life, and occasionally it will capture and eat an anole (a type of lizard) or even a hummingbird.

Carolina mantis egg cases (called an ootheca singularly) can be purchased in garden supply centers as a means of biological control of pest insects.

References

  • "Mantis", Microsoft Encarta Online Encyclopedia 2004 [1] (http://encarta.msn.com)
  • Watkins, Gary. "Praying Mantids" [2] (http://www.uky.edu/Agriculture/Entomology/entfacts/trees/ef418.htm)
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