Most of the praying mantis we see are exotics: immigrants from Asia and Europe. Our native mantids just don’t seem to be as common. At least, not in my gardens. In fact, until today, I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a native North American praying mantis.
I was on my way out the door when I glanced down and saw a little brown mantis on my spicy globe basil. Right away, I could tell this was a different species from the other mantis I’ve seen this year. My trusty Audubon insect guide confirmed my guess: Carolina mantis. Unlike their European and Asian cousins, the Carolina mantis is a tan-brown, with many dark brown speckles along it’s back and sides. It’s wings are still just little nubs, and its eyes and face seem to be of a slightly different proportion from the other species. It just looked different:
It’s the first of August, and the European mantis in my garden are roughly twice this size. I hope this little guy stays far away from the big green bruisers. Otherwise, he’ll quickly end up as dinner.