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The other day a praying mantis landed on our back porch:
It seems to be missing the front of its right foreleg. Can a praying mantis do OK with just one set of claws?
Looks to me to be tucked under it's forearm. Are they still protected by law?



I checked on the web, and they're common all over North America (having been introduced, however, from Europe), with the frequent advice that if you catch one, you can keep it as a pet! I still think something's amiss with its right foreleg.
I didn't even know they were rare.


According to the web, they aren't rare, although I grew up in New Jersey not too far from where Southern Tuxedo lives, and oddly, I had the impression they were protected, too. However, they aren't endangered, and gardeners (per my web search) can order eggs easily to have em eating bugs in their gardens. Other web sites show how to keep them as pets!
Don't worry, its there, its right arm is just folded in its name-sake praying position. you can see its comparatively small "foot" poking back towards its body. I suspect if you coaxed it, it would have extended its arm. This mantis should be fine.

Now what I'd like to know, is if that is a Native mantid or a Chinese mantis? Here is a little known fact about the praying mantises you see all the time.

The majority of the Praying Mantises you see are introduced and invasive species, conveniently named the "European Mantis" and the "Chinese Mantis", based on their origins. In particular, the Chinese Mantis is the type sold in garden stores. In most cases, these mantises have out competed or directly devoured native species of Praying Mantis, which tend to be smaller.

The largest Praying mantises you see (up to 5 inches) are the Chinese Mantis. They grow up to 4.5"-5", and are larger than any of the other introduced and native North American Mantis species. The European Mantises only get to about 3", but they have a spot on their "chests", near their praying arms.

Both are fairly voracious and indiscriminate predators, and it is often questioned if they have any value for pest control. An individual garden often does not have enough large insects in it to satisfy a large mantis like the Chinese Mantis,

Yours looks like it might be a female California Mantis, though I can't say for sure as i'm not as familiar with western species. The females of this species have shorter wings than the males, which extend past the end of their abdomens.

What I think is impressive about some of these mantises, is that they can hunt humming birds. The bird is to big for the mantis to outright kill, but heart rate of the hummingbird is so great, that the "shock" of a mantis strike is enough to give it a heart attack on occasion.
nachoman Wrote:I didn't even know they were rare.

Native Mantises ARE rare. about 70% of the mantises I see (and i'm a nut, i look), are Chinese. about 30% are European. In my lifetime, i have only seen one cofirmed Carolina Mantis, and I might have spotted a few more when I was younger (they have a distinctive body shape).


OK, you're right, it's been hanging around for the last few days, and when I checked this morning, it had both of its forefeet folded. We have lots of hummingbirds (which themselves are pretty fierce creatures) -- maybe that's what it's after!
Thanks for the info -- my wife and I were a little worried about it, but it sounds like it's fine.
That's rather presumptuous. Maybe it's an atheist. :mrgreen:
Wow, go to youtube and search for videos of praying mantis eating things. There's a video of one catching and eating a snake!!!!
We've got these critters around right now:

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I always loved those hawk moths!
Green_Elite_Cab Wrote:I always loved those hawk moths!

Yeah they are beautiful but I hate it when they start eating the chickens!