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The Chinese Mantid, Tendora aridifolia, is the largest praying mantid in United States, reaching 4â€ł in length. Because of its large size, it is one of the most commonly seen mantids as well. Chinese mantids are usually either bright green, tan, or a combination.
Chinese Mantis can grow up to 5 inches long and can have a mixture of pale green and tan colors; usually tan with a green line laterally down the side, or all green. Females are larger than males. Mantises sit still atop tall plants or other areas with a view, waiting to snatch any insect that flies or crawls past. The head of this insect is triangular and swivels around, so the mantis can track prey without moving the rest of its body.
Wingless nymphs and adults feed actively on many pest and beneficial insects, including each other. Older mantids can feed on flies, honey bees, crickets and moths. They are not effective for the control of aphids, mites or caterpillars. Older mantids are territorial and are only found alone. The lore related to female mantids eating the heads from males in order for them to successfully copulate has more recently been questioned.
Life Cycle: Chinese Mantids mate in late Summer when they are fully grown. Females will often kill the male after, or even during, mating. A female may turn around and bite the maleâ€™s head off, finishing him when mating is over. Female mantids then lay eggs in a foamy liquid on a twig. The liquid hardens and becomes an egg sac called an ootheca. Eggs stay in the ootheca through winter. Young mantids hatch in the Spring.
Baby mantids are called nymphs. They immediately begin eating, usually starting on their brothers and sisters. Up to 400 nymphs may come from one ootheca. Nymphs will continue to eat and grow. They start on small insects like aphids and small flies. As they grow they shed their exoskeletons (outer skin). They are not fully grown until late Summer.
Larger mantids eat insects such as caterpillars, butterflies, moths, grasshoppers, crickets, flies, bees, wasps, katydids, and beetles. They also eat other creatures, such as spiders and small frogs.
Chinese Mantids are fairly strong fliers, but they only fly in order to get to a new perch, or to escape a predator. Smaller nymphs have many predators, including birds, frogs, toads, lizards, spiders, ants, and bats. Larger Mantids have some of the same predators, but not as many. Mostly they are eaten by larger birds.
Human value: help control insect pests and are appreciated by gardeners. In fact, the Chinese mantis was imported to North America for this reason, and farmers and gardeners still purchase their egg cases.
Ecosystem value: In addition to their role as predators, mantises, especially when young, often fall prey to birds, reptiles and other predators
The pattern of CLM infestation of mature citrus has been predominantly in the fall months. Mature citrus trees, except for coastal lemons, can tolerate heavy fall flush damage with little impact to fruit production. Coastal lemons have continuous flushing of leaves and produce multiple crops of fruit. The continuous flushing allows prolonged infestations of CLM that reduce vigor of trees and fruit production.
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