These are likely the first of many sightings to come. European Mantises, as their name suggests, are not native. Each year gardeners purchase their egg cases (called oothecae) with the idea that the emerging mantis nymphs will eat other insects that are bad for their flowers or vegetables. It’s debatable whether they have a beneficial impact since the growing mantises inevitably eat insects that pollinate our plants too. In addition to the annual introduction by some gardeners, in late summer / early fall the females will lay two to three oothecae …and if we have a mild winter, we may be getting mantises through natural reproduction.
We have two native species of mantid in Montana. Get to know them in a past issue of Notes from the Lab.
Photo by: Weston Haun on 7/20/21 in Thompson Falls, MT