John Bokma New Zealand
freelance Perl programmer

Comments: Praying Mantis


Just before I entered the first house I rented in New Zealand I saw a very tiny animal that was clearly not an ant. It was a very young praying mantis. Few weeks later I found many big ones in the garden.

Read the rest of Praying Mantis.



Saw your picture of the Praying mantis. Don't know if you realise this is the invasive introduced South African species Miomantis caffra as opposed to the native Orthodera novaezealandiae. Still, a nice critter, I can't help liking them.


Posted by Andrew Broome at 04:26 GMT on 16 July 2005

Hi Andrew,

I didn't know that this was the introduced one. So the more slender one is the native one? I have more pictures and try to put them on line next week.

Thanks for the information,


Posted by John Bokma at 05:21 GMT on 16 July 2005

Hi, i am very curious about Mantids. I myself am very afraid of them because of their sharp claws and little eyes. I was wondering, are they afraid of us and if they are very protective of themselves and their eggs.

Thank you

Posted by Ladyshady2 at 00:59 GMT on 12 August 2005

Mantids will protect themselves if startled or threatened, but they are pretty tolerant, otherwise. I've often held them in my hand and fed them with a pair of tweezers. They'll eat anything smaller than themselves, and positively seem to love crickets, butterflies, moths, and you name it. They prefer their food still living, but if it's still and you move it about, they might go after it. Their eyesight is amazingly good.

Overall, do not be afraid of them. If they snag you with their foreclaws, it might suprise you, but it'll do no real damage, and they do not have venom. There's a lot of good information out on the 'net about them.


Posted by Rion Wulfe at 04:54 GMT on 27 August 2005

With regard to what Andrew said, the native Mantis has blue on it's inner fore-arms, which you can see in this picture I found: New Zealand Mantid Subadult

Posted by Fedishi at 11:13 GMT on 6 February 2006

Ive had two little praying mantids before but now i can't find them anymore, what is the best sort of plant could you find them on and do you know any places you could buy an egg case or adult praying mantid

Posted by Em at 03:01 GMT on 12 February 2006

Sorry, i forgot to ask are they easy to find in yards or gardens

Posted by Em at 03:06 GMT on 12 February 2006

In New Zealand I was able to find them in the garden. Around April I was able to find several adults, and the egg case making picture was taken around April, if I remember correctly.

Young mantids are hard to spot. The first sign of praying mantids in Mexico I found was a left behind exoskeleton (exuviae). I then knew that mantids lived in that place, and was able to spot a few.

Posted by John Bokma at 03:50 GMT on 17 February 2006

Hello Andrew I was wondering if you could put some simple info on the net for me about them for an assignment

Posted by anonymous at 00:01 GMT on 20 March 2006

Hi. Both the insect AND the egg case shown in your photos are the South African variety, which is slowly erradicating the more placid New Zealand native species. The SA ones are quite aggressive and can be several colours (green and brown). They are easy to spot as their thorax (neck) is narrow and they also hide on the underside of leaves while the NZ native ones sit on the upper side. As already mentioned, the NZ native ones have a yellow and irridescent colour on the inside of their 'preying' legs.

I am lead to believe that the male NZ preying mantis is relatively short sighted and can attempt to mate with a SA female but getting eaten instead of mating.

I also understand that the NZ natives do like manuka (tea tree) as a habitat.

Posted by Stuart at 23:30 GMT on 25 March 2006


Ive wonder if the Preying Mantis a Pest for plants.

Posted by William at 10:54 GMT on 25 May 2006


I was wondering if these fly.. cause i cought one in a box... and i don t know if it will just fly away

Posted by bala at 12:57 GMT on 20 August 2006

Hi I raised a praying mantis before. They are quite hard to raise in captivity. I had to find a couple in the wild instead of buying them because they were not doing well and i was basically wasting money. Anyway, I found the egg cases in a place where there are lots of grass and weeds. Anyone can find them if they are patient and they really are seriouse about raising mantids like I am.

Posted by Tony at 17:03 GMT on 10 October 2006

I was just wondering if i wanted to own one what kind of housing do i need. Do i need heat lights or anything of that nature. thank you for your help

P.S. I live in Canada (Ontario)

Posted by Kit-Kat at 12:29 GMT on 9 December 2006

We are a early childhood learning centre and we would like to know if the sth African praying mantis can change colour, from green to brown or do they hatch out and remain green or brown for the rest of their lives?

Posted by hoppers at 21:12 GMT on 30 April 2007

im gettin a praying mantis!

Posted by stacy at 02:56 GMT on 16 May 2007

i luv praying mantis i had 2 at one point in time but they died i think it was because my room was just too cold. if i get another on should i buy a heating system for the tank or somthing else?

thanks for your help


Posted by liz at 12:51 GMT on 4 June 2007

I LOVE praying mantids! I grow ang breed them. Meagen and Mitch (2 chinese mantids) mated. Mitch survived mating but Meagen didn't lay eggs. Maybelline did,but yesterday she died. But at least I have her eggs.

Posted by Alex at 00:12 GMT on 5 December 2007

In your photos you show a praying mantis busy laying eggs. The shape of the lot is quite interesting and I see these very often here in South Africa/Western Cape. Can you tell me how long it takes for the eggs to hatch? I have had young ones often in my kitchen. One could really mistake them for big ants.

Posted by at 23:11 GMT on 13 February 2008

Hi, I Had 2 Praying Mantis's. Both Layed Eggs Before We Let Them Go. One Got Caught In Grass And Sliced Its Bum Open But Is Now Fine. My Sister Almost Killed The Other By Leaving It In The Sun. So Now We Have Two Egg Sacks ANd Dont Have A Clue When They Will Hatch! What Is The Aproximate NZ Praying Mantis Egg Gestation?

Posted by dayna at 11:15 GMT on 4 April 2008

Hi i was wondering how do you know if a praying mantis has eggs because mine is all fat and can't fly her wing isn't damaged

Posted by nolle at 02:09 GMT on 28 September 2008

hi i love praying mantises

Posted by christine at 00:17 GMT on 26 August 2011

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