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European Praying Mantis

Connecticut State Insect

European praying mantis (Mantis religiosa); photo © Andy Williams / CritterZone Animal - Wildlife - Nature Stock Photography (all rights reserved; used by permission).

Official State Insect of Connecticut

The European praying mantis (Mantis religiosa) was designated the official state insect of Connecticut in 1977. All State Insects

This fascinating insect is not a native North American (originating in Northern Africa, Southern Europe, and temperate areas of Asia), but it is found throughout the state of Connecticut. The European praying mantis is a beneficial insect for farmers and a symbol of the importance of the natural environment.

"Mantis" is a Greek word meaning "prophet" or "diviner" (while hunting, the praying mantis stands motionless with its special front legs raised in seeming meditation). Understandably, the praying mantis is often misspelled as "preying" mantis. The praying mantis is a green or brown insect that eats aphids, flies, grasshoppers, caterpillars, and moths.