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Praying Mantid
(John Obermeyer, Purdue University)
Common Name: Praying Mantid

Order: Dictyoptera

Family: Mantidae

Pest Status: The praying mantid is considered a highly beneficial insect, because it is an effective predator.

Appearance: Adults are quite large, some over 3 to 4 inches long. The body is tan-brown with the longitudinal forewing's outer margins edged in a pea-green color. They have a large head borne on a greatly lengthened prothorax. The raptorial forelegs are often held in a "praying position" and are armed with spines to help capture prey.

Life Cycle: One generation develops each season. In the fall, females lay eggs in large, tan frothy masses, glued to tree twigs, plant stems, and other objects. Overwintering occurs in the egg stage. Tiny nymphs emerge from the egg mass in the spring or early summer.

Where to Collect: Adults are active in late summer and early fall and are usually found on plants that host other insects.