Texas Cooperative Extension, Texas A&M University System
Department of Entomology, Texas A&M University

Order Mantodea


Mantodea are rather large, elongate and slow-moving insects. Their front legs are greatly modified for grasping prey. Mantids have chewing mouthparts and unusually elongated prothorax. The wings are held over the back and overlap.  Metamorphosis is simple.

They are predaceous on a large variety of insects and other arthropods. They usually wait motionless for their prey to venture within striking distance. Mantids are well known as biological control agents. However, they do not distinguish between useful and destructive species but feed on any insects that come near.

Mantids are usually found in foliage.  They may be up to 4 inches long.

A praying mantid, Stagmomantis sp. Photo by G. Cronholm.
Click on image to enlarge
A praying mantid,
Stagmomantis sp.
(Mantodea: Mantidae).
Photo by G. Cronholm.

From the book:
Field Guide to Texas Insects,
Drees, B.M. and John Jackman,
Copyright 1999, Gulf Publishing Company,
Houston, Texas

A Field Guide to Common Texas Insects, Bastiaan M. Drees and John A. Jackman.
Texas A&M University
Texas A&M University •  Department of Entomology  •  412 Heep Center, TAMU 2475
College Station, TX 77843-2475 • 979.845.2516
Department of Entomology at Texas A&M University