(l-r) Egg case of invasive Chinese praying mantis (Tom Sargent Photo); egg case of native Carolina mantis. Praying mantises lay eggs in late summer or fall and hatch in the spring.
It is important to know the difference between egg cases of the invasive Chinese praying mantis and the native Carolina mantis. Both live on Fishers Island.
The invasive Chinese praying mantis is the largest mantis in North America and the most visible mantis on Fishers Island. It can grow to over four inches.
Chinese mantises are are efficient and ruthless predators. They eat everything they can subdue and do not distinguish between harmful or beneficial insects, preying on bees, ladybugs, moths, spiders, crickets, grasshoppers, as well as frogs, lizards, snakes and even birds.
Unfortunately, egg cases of Chinese praying mantises are available on the Internet as an “organic” way of controlling insect garden pests.
The Carolina mantis is native to North Carolina and South Carolina but is a common mantis in most states of the United States.
Carolina mantises eat moths, crickets, small grasshoppers, small cockroaches or fruit flies but can live for two weeks without food.
(l-r) Invasive Chinese mantis, Diane Crary Photo; and native Carolina mantis.