Insect logo



Home Who We Are List of Orders References Contact Us

*** Note: KnowYourInsects.org does its best to include correct identifications of insect photos. It’s always possible that we made a mistake, however, so if you see a misidentification, please contact us and we will correct it. Thanks!

Order Mantodea: the mantises — Examples

Families represented below:
Amorphoscelididae Empusidae Hymenopodidae Liturgusidae Mantidae Nanomantidae

Hymenopodidae, the flower mimic mantises

Spiny Flower Mantis (Pseudocreobotra wahlbergi)
Spiny flower mantis, Pseudocreobotra wahlbergi, subfamily Hymenopodinae, family Hymenopodidae.
□ OK, this spiny flower mantis is just gorgeous! From the striping on the legs to the pink swirl on the wing, insects don’t get much prettier than this one!
Photographed by: Jane Stickler. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: western Kenya, Africa. Date: 14 February, 2017.
Jane says, “I haven’t found anyone here who has seen one before.”

Empusidae, the violin mantids

Wandering Violin Mantis (Gongylus gongylodes)
Wandering violin mantis, also known as an Indian rose or ornate mantis, Gongylus gongylodes, subfamily Empusinae, family Empusidae.
□ This very regal-looking wandering violin mantis has an amazing, almost bird-like head, along with spectacular flaps at the joints of its hind four legs. In this photo, its two forelegs are folded in tightly, but they can extend to about three times the length they appear.
Photographed by: K J Westman. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Sri Lanka. Date: 10 January, 2019.
K J notes that this individual “has chosen an empty tin as its pulpit.”
Wandering Violin Mantis (Gongylus gongylodes)
Wandering violin mantis, also known as an Indian rose or ornate mantis, Gongylus gongylodes, subfamily Empusinae, family Empusidae.
□ This wandering violin mantis has long and thick antennae, shown well in the left photo. The intricate pattern on the wings is also clearly seen in the right photo.
□ It has an interesting behavior it uses to attract its prey: flying insects. The mantis sways back and forth, which is believed to make it look enough like a flower that insects will fly in to pollinate it. Then the mantis lashes out with its front legs to nab the prey.
Photographed by: Kislay Kumar. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: northern India. Date: 2 October, 2020.
Mantis (Empusa spp.)
Empusid mantis in the genus Empusa, subfamily Empusinae, family Empusidae.
□ With its bird-like head with a “crown” on top, this empusid mantis is standing in its typical upright posture with its abdomen curled. It is pictured on the photographer’s palm. See the photographer’s comment below.
Photographed and identified to order by: Michael Dubai. Identified to genus by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: South Ras Al Khaimah, United Arab Emirates. Date: 23 May, 2020.
Michael says, “We went on a trip yesterday. When I touched a thistle, and this fragile Mantis jumped out. Fascinating how it can turn its head almost 180 degrees.”
Mantis (Empusa fasciata)
Empusid mantis, nymph, Empusa fasciata, subfamily Empusinae, family Empusidae.
□ This nymph of an empusid mantis is mostly green with banded legs and a very long stick-like thorax. As an adult, its head and parts of its legs typically take on a purplish-pink tint.
Photographed and identified to order by: Yanni Petropoulos. Identified to species by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: mainland of southwest Greece. Date: 27 June, 2020.
Add your photo here!

Amorphoscelididae, the bark mantids

Bark Mantid (Amorphoscelis spp.)
Bark mantid in the genus Amorphoscelis, subfamily Amorphoscelinae, family Amorphoscelididae.
□ These are known as bark mantids because their mottled coloration is much like that of tree bark. This coloration helps them blend in while they are stalking prey insects, and this one looks like it would be nearly invisible on a lichen-covered tree trunk.
Photographed by: K J Westman. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Sri Lanka. Date: 10 January, 2019.
Add your photo here!
Add your photo here!

Mantidae, the praying mantises

Hooded Mantid (Asiadodis squilla)
Hooded mantid, Asiadodis squilla, subfamily Choeradodinae, family Mantidae.
□ The “hood” (an expansion of the insect’s pronotum) of this hooded mantid (two views of the same specimen) is perfect for helping this insect blend into a leafy background, where it lies in wait to nab a passing prey insect.
□ This genus only has two species in it: Asiadodis squilla, which is found in Sri Lanka (where this photo was taken) and Asiadodis yunnanensis, which is found in China. Note: A closely related genus is Choeradodis, which is found in the New World.
Photographed and identified as a mantid by: K J Westman. Identified to genus by: Chris Lenivy. Thank you, Chris! Location: Nitulemada, Digana, Rajawella, Kandy, Sri Lanka. Date: 17 March, 2017.
K J says, “During my more than 20 years in Sri Lanka, I have seen a lot of praying mantises but not anyone like this before.” KnowYourInsects.org says, “How exciting!”
Chinese Mantis (Tenodera aridifolia)
Chinese mantis, Tenodera aridifolia, subfamily Mantinae, family Mantidae.
□ One of the characteristics of the Chinese mantis is that its wings extend all the way to the end of the abdomen and even a bit beyond.
□It is believed that Chinese mantises arrived in North America near the and of the 19th century.
Photographed and identified to order by: Norine Nichols. Identified to species by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Bird Lake, Osseo, Michigan, USA. Date: 30 August, 2014.
Norine says, “Mantises are one of my favorites. They are so interesting! This one hung around most of the day on our deck.”
Chinese mantis (Tenodera aridifolia)
Chinese mantis, mating pair, Tenodera aridifolia, subfamily Mantinae, family Mantidae.
□ The female’s larger size is obvious in this mating pair of Chinese mantises.
Photographed and identified to order by: Deirdre Dooley. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org Location: Columbus, Ohio. Date: 1 September, 2016.
Deidre says she took the photo “right in the middle of downtown Columbus!”
Chinese mantis (Tenodera aridifolia)
Chinese mantis, Tenodera aridifolia, subfamily Mantinae, family Mantidae.
□ This brown-hued Chinese mantises gives a good look at its striped face and pale-green eyes.
Photographed and identified by: Jenny Greene. Location: Topeka,Kansas. Date: 16 August, 2020.
Jenny says, “This mantis has been on my porch for 7 weeks!”
Chinese mantis (Tenodera aridifolia)
Chinese mantis, Tenodera aridifolia, subfamily Mantinae, family Mantidae.
□ Notice the typical pose of this Chinese mantis, holding its front legs bent and at the ready to lash out and grasp a passing insect for a meal.
Photographed and identified to order by: Tony L. Identified to species by: KnowYourInsects.org Location: central New Jersey, USA. Date: 11 September, 2017.
Tony says, “And this little friend has been coming back to the same hunting ground for two weeks.”
Chinese mantis (Tenodera aridifolia)
Chinese mantis, Tenodera aridifolia, subfamily Mantinae, family Mantidae.
□ This Chinese mantis is shown in its defensive posture: wings spread, which makes it look bigger; and forelegs in the ready-to-strike position.
Photographed by: Dena Ellis. Identified to species by: KnowYourInsects.org Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA. Date: 21 August, 2019.
Chinese mantis (Tenodera aridifolia)
Chinese mantis, Tenodera aridifolia, subfamily Mantinae, family Mantidae.
□ This photo of a Chinese mantis gives an excellent view of its striped “face,” most of which is made up of head section called the frons. The photographer said it took up residence in her garden all summer.
Photographed and identified as a mantid by: Laura Schneider. Identified to species by: KnowYourInsects.org Location: Blue Island, Illinois, USA. Date: 30 August, 2020.
Laura was happy this mantid had been eating pest insects, but when she found the wing remains of a butterfly and a half-eaten bee, “I had a talk with ‘Manny,’ and told her to leave my helpful insects alone!”
Chinese mantis (Tenodera aridifolia)
Chinese mantis, Tenodera aridifolia, subfamily Mantinae, family Mantidae.
□ The Chinese mantis was introduced to North America in the late 19th century to control pests, but its diet includes other beneficial insects too. Today, it is quite common throughout the eastern United States and eastern Canada, where this photo was taken.
Photographed and identified as a mantid by: Tina Skye. Identified to species by: KnowYourInsects.org Location: Belle River area, southwestern Ontario, Canada. Date: 6 November, 2020.
Tina says, “He is as long as the span of my entire hand from finger tip to wrist.”
Add your photo here!
Carolina Mantis (Stagmomantis carolina)
Carolina Mantis, female, Stagmomantis carolina, subfamily Stagmomantinae, family Mantidae.
□ Like many insects, the adult Carolina mantis usually dies by winter (except in very warm climates). The species persists because the female lays her eggs by the time the colder temperatures of fall set in, and her eggs survive the winter chill to hatch in the spring.
Photographed and identified by: Carlo Castoro. Location: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA. Date: 2 October, 2017.
California Mantis (Stagmomantis californica)
Mantid, genus Stagmomantis, possibly California mantis Stagmomantis californica, subfamily Stagmomantinae, family Mantidae.
□ The California mantis is very similar in appearance to the Bordered Mantis (Stagmomantis limbata).
Photographed and identified by: Bill Mertz. Location: Los Angeles, California, USA. Date: 1 November, 2017.
Bill says he took this photo while walking through the rose garden just east of the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles.
California Mantis (Stagmomantis californica)
Mantis, genus Stagmomantis, possibly California mantis Stagmomantis californica, subfamily Stagmomantinae, family Mantidae.
□ Like the adults, nymphs of the California mantis have a long thorax that narrows about a third of the way back. Nymphs are always difficult to discern, so this is a tentative identification.
Photographed and identified as a mantis by: Stacey Coughlan. Identified to tentative species by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Poway, California, USA. Date: 17 September, 2020.
Stacey spotted this mantis at a construction site.
Carolina Mantis (Stagmomantis carolina)
Carolina Mantis, Stagmomantis carolina, female, subfamily Stagmomantinae, family Mantidae.
□ Most male Carolina mantises are brown, but the females may be either brown or green. A characteristic of the female is the length of her wings — they only extend about two-thirds of the way down the abdomen. The male has wings that extend at least the length of hte abdomen.
Photographed and identified by: McKinley Sutterfield. Great job, McKinley! Location: Noblesville, Indiana, USA. Date: 13 September, 2020.
Carolina Mantis (Stagmomantis carolina)
Carolina Mantis, Stagmomantis carolina, female, subfamily Stagmomantinae, family Mantidae.
□ One way to tell the male from the female Carolina mantis is to look at her abdomen, which is quite bulged out as seen in this photo. The male’s abdomen is much thinner and is often hidden completely by the wings.
□ Mantises are carnivores, so that bumblebee at the top of the photo would be wise to fly away before she decides it’s time for a meal.
Photographed and identified to order by: Mike Bloodworth. Identified to species by: KnowYourInsects.org. See Mike’s full-size images here and here. Location: Smith County, Texas, USA. Date: October 2016.
Add your photo here!
Mantid (possibly Eremoplana infelix)
Mantid, possibly Eremoplana infelix, subfamily Miomantinae, family Mantidae.
□ This species mantis is sometimes called a giant mantis because females can be 9 cm (3.5 inches) long. The head of both males and females is quite wide with the eyes positioned far to the sides. (By the way, what looks like a long snout is actually its front leg. There is no snout.) Photographed and identified to order by: Dave Foley. Tentatively identified to species by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Lebanon. Date: 7 October, 2014.
Dave says, “The photo doesn’t show its colour well, it was a beautiful silvery-gray colour!”
Springbok Mantis (Miomantis caffra)
Springbok mantis, Miomantis caffra, subfamily Miomantinae, family Mantidae.
□ The springbok mantis, sometimes called African mantis, has a pronotum (the shield covering the thorax) that tapers toward its center (so that it is narrower in the middle of the pronotum), and its head it wider than the thorax. Although not shown in these photos, the inside of the femur (thigh) on the front legs is decorated with a row of little black spots.
Photographed and identified to order by: Natalie Rowles. Identified to species by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Pinetown, South Africa (near Durban, KwaZulu-Natal). Date: 24 April, 2020. Natalie explains the wet face on this mantis, “This Mantis is blending in so well with his surroundings that sometimes I miss him when I water the garden.””
European mantis (Mantis religiosa)
European mantis, Mantis religiosa, subfamily Mantinae, family Mantidae.
□ Notice that the scientific name of the European mantis is Mantis religiosa, which literally means religious mantis. The “religious” part refers to the way it often holds its front legs up off the ground (as shown above), but frequently also bent closer to the body as if it is praying.
Photographed by: Daisy Rulz. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Mayville, Michigan, USA. Date: 23 August, 2017.
European Mantis (Mantis religiosa)
European mantis, Mantis religiosa, subfamily Mantinae, family Mantidae.
□ A characteristic of the European mantis is the bull’s-eye marking (called an eyespot) on the inside of each front leg. The eyespot is evident on this photo.
Photographed and identified to order by: Michelle Alexoff. Identified to species by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Putney, Vermont, USA. Date: 24 October, 2016.
European Mantis (Mantis religiosa)
Mantid, probably a European mantis, Mantis religiosa, subfamily Mantinae, family Mantidae.
Photographed by: Ahuva Over. Identified to tentative species by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: northern Israel. Date: 2020.
Mantid (Sphodromantis)
Mantid, possibly in the genus Sphodromantis, subfamily Mantinae, family Mantidae (the praying mantises).
Photographed and identified to order by: Dave Foley. Tentatively identified to genus by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Democratic Republic of Congo. Date: 7 October, 2014.
Mantis (Mantidae)
Mantis, family Mantidae.
Photographed and identified to order by: Tony L. Location: central New Jersey, USA. Date: 17 October, 2016.
Mantis (Mantidae)
Mantis, family Mantidae.
Photographed and identified to family by: Kristin Snopek. Location: Bellmawr, New Jersey, USA. Date: 20 September, 2020.

Nanomantidae, the ant mantids

Ant Mantid (Myrmecomantis atra)
Ant mantid, Myrmecomantis atra, subfamily Fulciniinae, family Nanomantidae.
□ The back half of this ant mantid is quite ant-like, but the triangular head shape and large, grasping forelegs give it away as a mantid. The thin yellow striping is a feature of this species.
□ Note: Formerly, these mantids were placed in the family Iridopterygidae (and before that in Mantidae), but as of 2019, are listed in the newly named Nanomantidae family.
Photographed by: Bhuvan Raj. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Bengaluru Urban, Karnataka, India. Date: 21 May, 2020.
Add your photo here!
Add your photo here!

Liturgusidae, the liturgusid mantids

Grizzled Mantis (Gonatista grisea)
Grizzled mantis, also known as a Florida bark mantis or a lichen mimic mantis, Gonatista grisea, subfamily Liturgousinae, family Liturgusidae.
□ The grizzled mantis, also known as a Florida bark mantis or lichen mimic mantis, is camouflaged well when it is sitting on a lichen-covered tree trunk. From there, the mantis remains still and waits to ambush its prey: other insects.
Photographed by: Pamela Barber. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Wilmington Island, Georgia, USA. Date: 5 November, 2017.
Pam says, “It was really cool because it almost looked like tree mold.”
Grizzled mantid (Gonatista grisea)
Grizzled mantis, also known as a Florida bark mantis or a lichen mimic mantis, Gonatista grisea, subfamily Liturgousinae, family Liturgusidae.
□ Look carefully at this grizzled mantis to see the front legs tucked up next to the body. The female (pictured here) has a wider abdomen than that of a male of this species.
Photographed by: Karen Herring. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: southeastern Georgia, USA. Date: 23 August, 2017.
Karen says, “I’ve lived in Georgia my whole life and I’m what you would call a ‘country girl.’ I have never seen one of these.”
Grizzled mantid (Gonatista grisea)
Grizzled mantis, also known as a Florida bark mantis or a lichen mimic mantis, Gonatista grisea, subfamily Liturgousinae, family Liturgusidae.
□ Try to spot the spines on the sides of the front legs of this grizzled mantis. The spines are a characteristic feature of this mantis, as is the scalloped edge on the abdomen.
Photographed by: Rhonda Hale. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: southwestern Georgia, USA. Date: 5 October, 2019.
Rhonda says, “Found this by my walnut trees in my water bucket.”
Grizzled mantid (Gonatista grisea)
Grizzled mantis, also known as a Florida bark mantis or a lichen mimic mantis, Gonatista grisea, subfamily Liturgousinae, family Liturgusidae.
□ Whether it’s a side view or a top view, this grizzled mantis is hidden well against the bark of this tree. The only thing that gives it away is its shadow from the bright Florida sunshine.
Photographed and identified by: Tammy Deremer. Discovered by: Tammy’s mom. Location: Dunnellon, Florida, USA. Date: 9 May, 2020.
Tammy says, “My 86-year-old Mom spotted this one on the tree.” KnowYourInsects.org says, “Great job, Tammy and Tammy’s mom!”
Grizzled mantid (Gonatista grisea)
Grizzled mantis, also known as a Florida bark mantis or a lichen mimic mantis, Gonatista grisea, subfamily Liturgousinae, family Liturgusidae.
□ The body of the grizzled mantis is flattened a bit, so it can squish up against a tree trunk (or pole as seen here), helping it to blend into its surroundings even better. It shows up against this pole a bit better than it would a tree trunk, so these photos provide a nice view!
Photographed by: Samantha Burns. Submitted by: Lodella Corriveau. Location: Callahan, Florida, USA. Date: 4 December, 2020.
Samantha found it on her farm and sent it to her Aunt Lodella, who forwarded it on to KnowYourInsects.org. (We appreciate families who appreciate nature!)
Bark Mantis (Humbertiella spp.)
Bark mantis in the genus Humbertiella, subfamily Liturgusinae, family Liturgusidae.
□ Camouflage is very helpful to ambush insects, such as this bark mantis. By staying still on the bark of this tree, it can hide in plain sight.
Photographed by: Senrita Raksam Marak. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: William nagar, Meghalaya, India. Date: 25 June, 2019.
Bark Mantis (Humbertiella spp.)
Bark mantis in the genus Humbertiella, quite possibly Humbertiella ceylonica, nymph, subfamily Liturgusinae, family Liturgusidae.
□ With this pose, it is easy to overlook the forelegs of this bark mantis: although large, the forelegs are bent and tucked up against its body.
Photographed and identified to order by: Chinmay Chaitanya Maliye. Identified to genus by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Banglore, India. Date: 10 August, 2019.
Bark mantid (Liturgusidae)
Bark mantis, family Liturgusidae.
Photographed and identified by: S.S Gunarathna. Location: Meepitiya, Kegalle, Sri Lanka. Date: 15 August, 2020.
Add your photo here!
Add your photo here!



HomeWho We Are List of Orders References Contact Us

Unless noted otherwise, photographs on this website are the property of the photographers and may not be reused without written permission from the photographers. To obtain permission, request it here.

Photos at the top of this website are (from left to right): potato beetle (Leptinotarsa decemlineata) — photo credit: Scott Bauer, U.S. Department of Agriculture; ebony jewelwing (Calopteryx maculata)— photo credit: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; sweat bee (Agapostemon splendens) — photo credit: Natalie Allen and Stephanie Kolski, U.S. Geological Survey; preying mantis, monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus), hellgrammite (aka toe biter) larva and eyed click beetle (Alaus oculatus) — photo credit: Leslie Mertz; Halloween pennant (Celithemis eponina) — photo credit: Kay Meng, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Reproduction of material from any KnowYourInsects.org webpages without written permission is strictly prohibited.