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NC State Extension

Carolina Mantid

  • Common Name: Carolina Mantid
  • General Category: Predator
  • Taxonomic Classification: Mantodea: Mantidae
  • Scientific Name: Stagmomantis carolina


Mantids are captivating, almost iconic insects that are easily recognized by their specialized (raptorial) front legs which they use to grasp prey. The Carolina mantid is a relatively common native species that may be harder to spot than other mantids because of its camouflage coloration . The two most similar, commonly encountered mantids in the eastern U.S. are the non-native Chinese and European mantids, that can both be easily distinguished from the Carolina mantid.

Carolina mantid adult Carolina mantid nymph


Review the images for tips on how to identify these predators.


All mantids are easily distinguished by their specialized front legs which they use to grasp prey. Carolina mantids have a face plate that is more rectangular than square(as in Chinese mantids), their wings of adults only cover about two thirds of their abdomen (wings cover all of abdomen in Chinese mantids). Usually mottled gray, brown or green color. They do not have a large spot on the inside of the front legs near the body (as in European mantids). Carolina mantids are small (2 inches) compared to Chinese or European mantids.


Again, the face plate is rectangular, they are mottled gray, brown or green, and they do not have a leg spot.

Value in Pest Management

Carolina mantids have no demonstrated value in pest management. Like other mantids, they are non-selective in their eating habits and are ambush predators, so they do not actively seek out insect pests. Because of their smaller size, their diet is focused on smaller organisms, primarily arthropods. They are not sold commercially.

Origin and Distribution

Native. Most commonly found in southeastern United States.

Bug Guide – Carolina Mantis

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