Strange Creature: Has Montana Always Been Home to Praying Mantis?
I have been noticing more and more praying mantis in our region for the last couple of summers. I have really never seen them before and was surprised at how many I found everywhere from hiking trails to hanging out at gas pumps. But, I haven't seen as many this year as I did in the past few years. Which begs the question. Has Montana always been home to a praying mantis?
According to missoulabutterflyhouse.org
'MANTIS' are usually one of two species: Tenodera sinensis, the Chinese mantis, or Mantis religiosa, the European mantis. As their name suggests, they are not native to the United States, but have been introduced to maintain populations of garden pests. Most adult mantids you find in the wild are these species, though we do have a couple native species in central/east Montana.
I was especially happy to see them in the summer of 2020 when everyone was talking about MURDER HORNETS. I knew if anything could go head to head with a murder hornet, it would be a mantis.
But, what about those adorable little birds your Mom has buzzing around her garden? They are not much bigger than a murder hornet. Can a mantis take down a hummingbird?
It appears they can. A video recently surfaced online showing a mantis posted up near a hummingbird feeder. The hummingbirds don't seem to mind the mantis much. A few try to persuade the mantis to leave by giving him a slight nudge. But, otherwise seems to be peaceful. But, much like the current "peaceful protests" we keep seeing online, there always has to be that one guy starting trouble.
Thankfully, Fall is on its way, and most of the "creepy crawlies" and even the adorable little hummingbirds will be heading for a long winter's nap. Sightings of praying mantis are still popping up, but not for long. May have to wait until next August to witness another nature UFC fight.