A mantis is a type of insect, typically with large hooklike front legs and large eyes. It uses its large legs to snatch passing prey, which it locates through movement. Several species of mantis are prominent in the United States, either as indigenous insects or as imported fauna. The University of Wisconsin lists three species of mantis that are commonly found in Wisconsin.
Mantis religiosa, also known as the European mantis or praying mantis, is found in Wisconsin during the summer. It's about 2 inches long, including its wings. This mantis is native to Europe; it was introduced to the United States in 1899 on imported nursery stock. It feeds on caterpillars, butterflies, bees, flies and some moths.
Stagmomantis carolina, also called the Carolina mantis, is a mantid slightly smaller than the praying mantis. Found in Wisconsin during the summer, it is recognizable by its long antennae, which are about half as long as its middle legs and the wide, flattened abdomen of the female of the species. The Carolina mantis has larger, broader wings than other mantid species. A dark or black patch of coloring is also prominent on the wings. Males are usually brown. Females can range from green to brown.
Tenodera aridifolia, also known as the Chinese mantis, is a large mantid that can exceed 2 inches in length. It is prominent in the summer and during autumn in warmer climates. Pale green to tan, the Chinese mantis has prominent compound eyes that are dark brown in low light and pale tan after sunrise. It feeds on other insects; larger specimens may also prey on small frogs, lizards or even hummingbirds.
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