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Carolina Mantid (Stagmomantis carolina)

 

Carolina Mantid
Stagmomantis carolina (Johannson)
(Order Mantodea; Family Mantidae)
 
Stagmomantis carolina, female (photo by Timothy Eberl)
(Specimen Collected: Kansas: Sedgwick County. Heller's Park, Wichita. 35°45'40''N, 97°20'48''W. On tall grass. September 27, 2011)
 
Adult Diagnosis: A large (47mm in length) green or mottled brown mantid, common in Kansas. Like other mantids, this species has long slender legs with the forelegs in the "praying" (a better description may be "preying") position, large forward-facing eyes, and long slender antennae.
 
Females of this species have a short but very broad abdomen which is not fully covered by the wings, which are non-functional. In contrast, males have long slender abdomens with fully functional wings.
 
Female Stagmomantis carolina:
 
Male Stagmomantis carolina:
 
 

Adult Natural History: Females produce ootheca in the fall and the species overwinters in the egg stage. The eggs hatch from the ootheca in the spring and there is only one life cycle per year.

Mating in the Mantodea is an area of much fascination. This particular species has been observed to engage in sexual cannibalism altough it is not obligatory. Generally males are known to seek out females, but some females will compete for males. This female competition may explain why this species is not known to dance or exhibit any other elaborate courtship rituals.
 
Males are more often seen than females because males have functional wings and are more able to travel to lights at night.
 
Distribution: From the Atlantic Ocean westward to Arizona and Utah. Can be found as far north as Maryland and been reported as far south as Costa Rica.

 
Habitat: Grasslands and woodlands are both used. They are also common garden visitors as they exploit flowering plants due to their high arthropod densities and diversity.  
 
Diet: Both nymphs and adults are entirely carnivorous. They are generalist predators who grasp moving prey items with their raptorial forelegs. They are also known to be cannibalistic both sexually, and not.
 
Conservation Status: Stable

 

Carolina Mantid eating a Lady Bettle
 
Carolina Mantid laying an ootheca
 
Carolina Mantid nymphs
 
 
 
 
Links:
 
University of Michigan Museum of Zoology Animal Diversity Web: http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Stagmoma...
 
Encyclopedia of Life: http://eol.org/pages/613537/overview
 
 
Resources:
 
Salsbury, G.A., S.C. White.  2000.  Insects in Kansas.  3rd Edition.  Kansas Department of Agriculture.  Topeka, KS.
 
Rau, P., N. Rau. 1913. The Biology of Stagmomantis carolina.  Transactions of the Academy of Science of Saint Louis.  22:1-58.
 
Howard, L.O. 1905.  The Insect Book: Volume 7.  Doubleday, Page, and Company.  New York, NY.
 
Maxwell, M.R. 1999.  Mating Behavior.  In: The Praying Mantids.  The Johns Hopkins University Press.  Baltimore, MD.
 
Taber, S.W., S.B. Fleenor.  2005.  Invertebrates of Central Texas Wetlands.  Texas Tech University Press.  Lubbock, TX.
 

Submitted By:  Lindsay Drees, November 2011.

 

 

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