Recent range expansion of the Praying Mantis, <i>Mantis religiosa</i> Linnaeus (Mantodeaz Mantidae), in British Columbia


  • Robert A. Cannings Royal British Columbia Museum 675 Belleville Street Victoria, BC V8W 9W2 phone: (250) 356-8242


The Praying Mantis, Mantis religiosa, was introduced into eastern North America in the 1890s and is now a common species throughout much of the eastern United States and southern Ontario and Quebec. It was introduced from Ontario into the southern interior of British Columbia to control grasshoppers in 1937 and 1938. These introductions became established only in the southern Okanagan Valley where populations have persisted from Okanagan Falls south to Osoyoos. Since the late 1990s, the species’ range has expanded from the South Okanagan north at least to Kamloops and east to Nelson. In addition, in the core of its traditional British Columbia range, the South Okanagan, this mantid has become more commonly encountered during the past decade. M. religiosa has also been collected on Vancouver Island. Specimen, photograph and sight records that document this change in status are listed and discussed and a distribution map is included. Characters used to distinguish M. religiosa from the native Ground Mantis, Litaneutria minor, and the exotic Chinese Mantis, Tenodera aridifolia sinensis, which is available commerciallv as a biocontrol agent are summarized.


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