- Sexual Dimorphism
- female larger
- Average mass
- 3 g
- 0.11 oz
- Range length
- 5.08 to 12.7 cm
- 2.00 to 5.00 in
- Average length
- 7 cm
- 2.76 in
- Average wingspan
- 4 cm
- 1.57 in
Male Chinese mantids mate repeatedly and fertilize multiple females when possible. Females also mate with multiple males, despite usually laying only one ootheca (egg case), and the different eggs within a single ootheca may have multiple fathers. Because only males fly, the males actively seek mates and are guided by long-distance pheromones from up to 100 m away. To attract males, a female flexes her abdomen, which exposes her abdominal pheromone glands. Males are more attracted to virgin females, suggesting that females decrease their pheromone emission and other behaviors after their first mating. When courting, males exhibit behaviors such as pumping their abdomens up and down and wiggling from side to side. They approach females directly from the front or from behind. Females also may approach males, although rarely, and actively participate in courtship, showing such behaviors as stroking the forelimbs of the male. (Lelito and Brown, 2006; Lelito and Brown, 2008; Maxwell, et al., 2010; Watanabe, et al., 2011)
is one species of mantis that strongly exhibits sexual cannibalism, wherein the female eats the male during or after copulation, often beheading him. Cannibalism is beneficial to the female because she can obtain food by eating her mate. When prey is scarce and females are hungrier, they are more likely to cannibalize their mate. Hungrier females will even make predatory strikes toward males before copulation occurs. It is likely due to the threat of cannibalism that when males approach females head on, they exhibit more cautious behaviors and move much more slowly than males approaching from behind. These differences in courting behavior according to risk level are thought to involve pheromones or behavioral indicators from the female.
Sexual cannibalism may provide some benefits to the male, as well. Males can continue copulating after they have been beheaded, though they cannot mount new females on their own. Cannibalism may result in prolonged copulation, ensuring an increased transfer of sperm and possibly preventing other males from mating with the female. (Lelito and Brown, 2006; Liske and Davis, 1987; Watanabe, et al., 2011)
- Mating System
- polygynandrous (promiscuous)
- Key Reproductive Features
- seasonal breeding
- gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate)
- Breeding interval
- Chinese mantids breed whenever possible during their few months of adulthood
- Breeding season
- Late summer until early winter
- Range eggs per season
- 50 to 600
- Average eggs per season
- Average gestation period
- 2 months
- Average time to independence
- at birth, 0 minutes
- Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (female)
- 6 months
- Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (male)
- 6 months
- Parental Investment
- no parental involvement
arthropod prey becomes abundant. Because prey can be scarce in the home range of , nymphs and adults often die of starvation. About 90% of Chinese mantid nymphs die before reaching adulthood. They are especially prone to desiccation. The number of males in a population, and the lifespan of males, are significantly lower due to sexual cannibalism by females. (Hurd, et al., 2004; Iwasaki, 1996; Lelito and Brown, 2008)generally can be expected to live 6 to 9 months in the wild. Eggs hatch in the early spring when temperatures warm up, and adults die during the first frost. Because its birth and death largely are dependent on environmental temperatures, its lifespan can vary by latitude. The highest mortality rates occur just after hatches in the spring, before
- Typical lifespan
- 6 to 9 months
- Typical lifespan
- Typical lifespan
- 6 to 9 months
- Typical lifespan
is a ferocious solitary predator, and many studies have investigated its complex hunting behavior. The large eyes of allow it to hunt prey primarily by vision, a tactic enhanced by its ability to swivel its head in any direction (fully 180 degrees).
Chinese mantids also can detect immobile prey by olfaction. The hunting strategy of the adults is to perch motionless atop tall plants, grasses, or in tree branches–-ideally, any place with a clear view of the surroundings. As potential prey moves past (anything from other insects to small birds),quickly darts out in a lunge and grabs the prey with its folded arms. The prey collides with the femoral spines of the mantis forearms, and then the mantis tibias close to grasp the prey. Mantises hold their prey in their forearms while they feed, and the prey may still be alive as the mantis begins to eat.
- Range territory size
- 2 to 4 km^2
Communication and Perception
- Other Communication Modes
arthropods (particularly insects and spiders). Adult females have been known to catch small reptiles, amphibians, and the occasional hummingbird. Their prey is limited only by what they can catch. Chinese mantid nymphs will eat pollen to survive in times of low prey availability, while adults will eat pollinator insects that are covered in pollen, also ingesting the pollen. Adults sometimes will eat solely pollen in times of limited prey. In addition, adult females sometimes practice sexual cannibalism. (Beckman and Hurd, 2003; "Chinese Mantis", 2012; Hurd, et al., 2004; Prete, et al., 2011)is a generalist predator. It usually eats anything it can catch, preferring other
- Animal Foods
- terrestrial non-insect arthropods
- Plant Foods
reptiles, birds, and primates. When faced with a bird or lizard predator, exhibits defensive behavior and posture, including a display called the deimatic response. The display includes elevating the prothorax, raising the wings, extending the back legs to the side, twisting the abdomen, and swaying violently from side to side. The Asian giant hornet, Vespa mandarina, also has been known to prey on Chinese mantids, though the mantids can fight back and often prey on the hornets instead. (Balderrama and Maldonado, 1971; Handwerk, 2012; Yamawaki, 2011)is prey to a variety of animals, including
- Anti-predator Adaptations
arthropod populations and can sufficiently keep prey populations in check. While adult females often catch small vertebrates, they are unlikely to catch enough to influence vertebrate population size.is a fierce predatory species. It has the potential to significantly affect other
Economic Importance for Humans: Positive
- Positive Impacts
- pet trade
- controls pest population
Economic Importance for Humans: Negative
If provoked, ("Chinese Mantis", 2012)can bite or pinch a human being. Usually, it focuses on prey items and ignores humans, and it even can be handled without concern. Harm to humans is very rare but possible.
- Negative Impacts
- bites or stings
Angela Miner (author), Animal Diversity Web Staff, Elizabeth Wason (editor), Animal Diversity Web Staff.
Living in Australia, New Zealand, Tasmania, New Guinea and associated islands.
living in the Nearctic biogeographic province, the northern part of the New World. This includes Greenland, the Canadian Arctic islands, and all of the North American as far south as the highlands of central Mexico.
living in landscapes dominated by human agriculture.
having coloration that serves a protective function for the animal, usually used to refer to animals with colors that warn predators of their toxicity. For example: animals with bright red or yellow coloration are often toxic or distasteful.
- bilateral symmetry
having body symmetry such that the animal can be divided in one plane into two mirror-image halves. Animals with bilateral symmetry have dorsal and ventral sides, as well as anterior and posterior ends. Synapomorphy of the Bilateria.
an animal that mainly eats meat
uses smells or other chemicals to communicate
a period of time when growth or development is suspended in insects and other invertebrates, it can usually only be ended the appropriate environmental stimulus.
- active during the day, 2. lasting for one day.
animals which must use heat acquired from the environment and behavioral adaptations to regulate body temperature
union of egg and spermatozoan
forest biomes are dominated by trees, otherwise forest biomes can vary widely in amount of precipitation and seasonality.
having a body temperature that fluctuates with that of the immediate environment; having no mechanism or a poorly developed mechanism for regulating internal body temperature.
the state that some animals enter during winter in which normal physiological processes are significantly reduced, thus lowering the animal's energy requirements. The act or condition of passing winter in a torpid or resting state, typically involving the abandonment of homoiothermy in mammals.
An animal that eats mainly insects or spiders.
- internal fertilization
fertilization takes place within the female's body
referring to animal species that have been transported to and established populations in regions outside of their natural range, usually through human action.
A large change in the shape or structure of an animal that happens as the animal grows. In insects, "incomplete metamorphosis" is when young animals are similar to adults and change gradually into the adult form, and "complete metamorphosis" is when there is a profound change between larval and adult forms. Butterflies have complete metamorphosis, grasshoppers have incomplete metamorphosis.
having the capacity to move from one place to another.
- native range
the area in which the animal is naturally found, the region in which it is endemic.
found in the oriental region of the world. In other words, India and southeast Asia.
reproduction in which eggs are released by the female; development of offspring occurs outside the mother's body.
- pet trade
the business of buying and selling animals for people to keep in their homes as pets.
chemicals released into air or water that are detected by and responded to by other animals of the same species
the kind of polygamy in which a female pairs with several males, each of which also pairs with several different females.
Referring to something living or located adjacent to a waterbody (usually, but not always, a river or stream).
- seasonal breeding
breeding is confined to a particular season
remains in the same area
offspring are all produced in a single group (litter, clutch, etc.), after which the parent usually dies. Semelparous organisms often only live through a single season/year (or other periodic change in conditions) but may live for many seasons. In both cases reproduction occurs as a single investment of energy in offspring, with no future chance for investment in reproduction.
reproduction that includes combining the genetic contribution of two individuals, a male and a female
uses touch to communicate
that region of the Earth between 23.5 degrees North and 60 degrees North (between the Tropic of Cancer and the Arctic Circle) and between 23.5 degrees South and 60 degrees South (between the Tropic of Capricorn and the Antarctic Circle).
Living on the ground.
- tropical savanna and grassland
A terrestrial biome. Savannas are grasslands with scattered individual trees that do not form a closed canopy. Extensive savannas are found in parts of subtropical and tropical Africa and South America, and in Australia.
A grassland with scattered trees or scattered clumps of trees, a type of community intermediate between grassland and forest. See also Tropical savanna and grassland biome.
- temperate grassland
A terrestrial biome found in temperate latitudes (>23.5° N or S latitude). Vegetation is made up mostly of grasses, the height and species diversity of which depend largely on the amount of moisture available. Fire and grazing are important in the long-term maintenance of grasslands.
uses sight to communicate
Conservation Commission of Missouri. 2012. "http://mdc.mo.gov/node/2938." (On-line). Missouri Department of Conservation. Accessed February 24, 2012 at
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Beckman, N., L. Hurd. 2003. Pollen feeding and fitness in praying mantids: The vegetarian side of a tritrophic predator. Environmental Entomology, 32/4: 881-885.
Handwerk, B. 2012. "'Hornets From Hell' Offer Real-Life Fright" (On-line). National Geographic. Accessed February 23, 2012 at http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2002/10/1025_021025_GiantHornets.html.
Hurd, L., R. Mallis, K. Bulka, A. Jones. 2004. Life history, environment, and deme extinction in the Chinese mantid Tenodera aridifolia sinensis (Mantodea: Mantidae). Environmental Entomology, 33/2: 182-187.
Iwasaki, T. 1996. Comparative studies on the life histories of two praying mantises, Tenodera angustipennis Saussure (Mantodea: Mantidae). 1. Temporal pattern of egg hatch and nymphal development. Applied Entomology and Zoology, 31: 345-356.(Stoll) and
Lelito, J., W. Brown. 2008. Mate attraction by females in a sexually cannibalistic praying mantis. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, 63/2: 313-320.
Lelito, J., W. Brown. 2006. Natural history miscellany - Complicity or conflict over sexual cannibalism? Male risk taking in the praying mantis Tenodera aridifolia sinensis. American Naturalist, 168/2: 263-269.
Liske, E., W. Davis. 1987. Courtship and mating behaviour of the Chinese praying mantis, Tenodera aridifolia sinensis. Animal Behavior, 35: 1524-1537.
Maxwell, M., K. Barry, P. Johns. 2010. Examinations of Female Pheromone Use in Two Praying Mantids, Stagmomantis limbata and Tenodera aridifolia sinensis (Mantodea: Mantidae). Annals of the Entomological Society of America, 103/1: 120-127.
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Prete, F., J. Komito, S. Dominguez, G. Svenson, L. Lopez, A. Guillen, N. Bogdanivich. 2011. Visual stimuli that elicit appetitive behaviors in three morphologically distinct species of praying mantis. Journal of Comparative Physiology A-Neuroethology Sensory Neural and Behavioral Physiology, 197/9: 877-894.
Watanabe, E., T. Adachi-Hagimori, K. Miura, M. Maxwell, Y. Ando, Y. Takematsu. 2011. Multiple Paternity Within Field-Collected Egg Cases of the Praying Mantid Annals of the Entomological Society of America, 104/2: 348-352..
Yamawaki, Y. 2011. Defence behaviours of the praying mantis Journal of Insect Physiology, 57/11: 1510-1517.in response to looming objects.
Yato, M., S. Hitoshi, S. Oshima, H. Kawasaki. 1990. Enzymic activities involved in the oothecal sclerotization of the praying mantid, Tenodera aridifolia sinesis saussure. Insect Biochemistry, 20: 745-750.