Praying Mantis (order Mantodea): Our summer campers spotted this mantis last week. We can’t say for certain from the photo, but it is likely a European Mantis (Mantis religiosa). Mantids are not native to Montana. However, each year gardeners purchase egg cases (called an ootheca) 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 mantids inevitably eat insects that pollinate our plants too. In addition to the annual introduction of mantids by some gardeners, in late summer / early fall the females will lay 2 to 3 oothecas …and if we have a mild winter, we may be getting mantids through natural reproduction. Another 20 years of warming and mantids may be pretty common in Missoula. Photo by Carolyn Taber on 8/16/18 in Missoula, MT.