|Adult male Chinese Mantis|
The Chinese Mantis (Tenodera sinensis) is a species of praying mantis native to China. Around 1895 the species was imported to North America for biological pest control. Tenodera sinensis often is erroneously referred to as Tenodera aridifolia sinensis because it was at first described as a subspecies of Tenodera aridifolia, but Tenodera sinensis is now established as a full species.
Tenodera sinensis feeds primarily on other insects, though adult females in particular sometimes catches small vertebrates. For example, they have been documented as feeding on small reptiles, amphibians and even small species of hummingbirds. Like most mantids, they are known to be cannibalistic. Also like most mantids they do not generally avoid toxic or venomous prey, however they have been observed eating the larvae of monarch butterflies, but discarding the entrails.
The Chinese Mantis is a long, slender, brown and green praying mantis. It is typically longer than most other praying mantises reaching just over 11 centimeters, and is the largest mantis species in North America (spread throughout much of southern New England, and the Northeast United States). Its color can vary from overall green to brown with a green lateral stripe on the edge of the front wings. In low light the eyes of the mantis appear black, but in daylight appear to be clear, matching the color of the head. Chinese Mantids are slightly different in color and are usually larger than Tenodera aridifolia angustipennis which were introduced to the United States of America as well. One way of telling Tenodera sinensis and Tenodera aridifolia angustipennis apart is by looking at the spot in between their front legs. If it is yellow then it is a Chinese Mantis but if it is orange then it is a Narrow-winged Mantis.
The female can produce several spherical ootheca roughly the size of a table tennis ball, containing up to 400 eggs. The oothecae are often affixed to vegetation such as bushes and small trees, as seen in the image below.
Chinese Mantids are a common pet for mantis enthusiasts, and otheca can be purchased from plant nurseries across the US. They are notable for quickly adapting to the presence of humans. They can become tame enough to perch on one's hand and even be hand-fed.
The Chinese Mantis should be kept in a terrarium roughly three times its body size. The Chinese Mantis is an aggressive carnivore that will tackle and eat large insects. The Chinese Mantis' diet consists primarily of cockroaches, moths, butterflies, grasshoppers, crickets and spiders. During early life (called "instar"), Chinese Mantids will eat Drosophila melanogaster and similar small flies. As they grow larger, Mantids will accept House Flies, Blue Bottle Flies and small roaches.
Mantids drink dew from leaves, so a gentle misting every other day is required. In the terrarium, Mantids require sticks and other foliage for climbing and molting. Mantids will thrive in temperatures ranging from 20 to 38°C. Sudden temperature changes may be fatal.
Although formidable, the Chinese Mantis is preyed on by other mantises, birds, and the Asian Giant Hornet in its native range (although the roles have been know to reverse, with the hornet falling prey to the mantis).
There are two martial arts styles created to mimic the movements of the Chinese mantis. Developed in the Shandong province of China in the mid-1600s, Praying Mantis kung-fu is based on the quick movements and techniques of the Chinese mantis. An unrelated style of kung fu that was developed by the Hakka people in Southern China is known as Southern Praying Mantis.
- List of mantis genera and species
- Northern Praying Mantis (martial art), a Chinese martial arts style based around the movements of a Mantis.
- Southern Praying Mantis (martial art), a southern Chinese martial arts style developed by the Hakka people, and unrelated to the northern Chinese martial art style of Northern Praying Mantis.
- Ehrmann, R. 2002. Mantodea: Gottesanbeterinnen der Welt. Natur und Tier, Münster
- "Chinese Mantis".