Spills was an awesome mantis. He was a male Chinese Mantis that I caught on the fence in our backyard on August 31, 2015.
His picture is on the front of this blog, at the top. Chinese Mantises are among the largest mantids in the U.S., and are one of the most common where I live, in Pennsylvania. It was introduced into the United States at around 1896 as a pest control.
The scientific name of the Chinese Mantis is Tenodera Sinensis.
When I first caught him, he was always restless because he wasn’t used to being handled. Every time I took him out, he went into the threat display. When a mantis feels threatened it raises it’s front legs and wings to make itself appear larger. Over time, Spills got accustomed to me. I would take him out of his habitat and let him fly around the house. Sometimes he would come back around like a boomerang and land on my head. When I would hold him, occasionally he would lightly nibble on my finger. I soon found out that he was trying to tell me he was thirsty. All I had to do was spray my hand down with distilled water and he would drink the little water droplets.
Mantids are predators, they eat other live insects, some as small as fruit flies. Some large species with wide front legs like the Chinese Mantis can overpower hummingbirds and even small snakes. Spills ate crickets, spiders, butterflies, moths, flies, cockroaches, grasshoppers, katydids,etc. I named him Spills because when he was finished eating his prey, he would spill the remains of it onto the floor of his habitat.
Spills had so much personality. When I would let someone hold him so I could go do something, the next thing I knew, he would have followed me and flown onto my head. I learned to put him back before I would leave him.
When we went on a month long trip to Corpus Christi, Texas,we made a big habitat for him and we brought him along with us. He was a big help with all of the roaches we had there. We were infested with cockroaches (Just kidding, there were just a few outside). He lived pretty long (for a mantis). I’m guessing about 8 or 9 months. He lived until December 6, 2015.