Tenodera sinensis, preying on a hummingbird|
Mantises, along with lady beetles or ladybugs are beloved insects, considered good pest controls worth having in the garden. Mantises, or mantids, are charismatic because of their remarkable looks and large size. Some value them as pets or use them in school projects. The females have the bad reputation of devouring their mate’s heads, although this is probably largely exaggerated and not as common in the wild as it is with caged ones. They invented Styrofoam to build their egg cases long before humans did, more on this below. Just as there are many species of lady beetles, there are also many different mantises. The good news is that while lady beetle species number in the hundreds, there are only twenty kinds of mantises. The bad news is that four or five of those species are not-native and may be causing problems for the native ones.