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Carolina Mantid

South Carolina State Insect

Carolina mantid (praying mantis); photo by e_monk on Flickr (noncommercial use permitted with attribution / share alike).

Carolina Mantid (praying mantis)

South Carolina designated the Carolina mantid as the official state insect in 1988 as a symbol of the science of entomology and its special role in agriculture controlling harmful insects. The praying mantis is also a fascinating specimen of living science for the children of South Carolina.

The Carolina mantid; scientific name Stagmomantis carolina (Johannson), is native to North and Central America and can be found throughout South Carolina. The Carolina mantid grows to about 2.5 inches in length and comes in a variety of colors: gray, brownish-tan, yellow-green, and bright green.

A female Carolina mantid deposits her eggs on plant stems surrounded by an "ootheca" (formed from a secreted liquid that is beaten into a froth; this hardens to form a protective case for the eggs).

Carolina mantid faces competition! Chinese mantises are an introduced species (naturalized because they've been here since the late 19th century). The problem is that they are bigger than our native mantises (the Carolina mantis being one) and can out-compete the native mantises for food and territory.