Mantis religiosa 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Arthropoda Insecta Mantodea Mantidae

Scientific Name: Mantis religiosa (Linne, 1758)
Gryllus religiosus Linne, 1758

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2016
Date Assessed: 2015-11-18
Assessor(s): Battiston, R.
Reviewer(s): Hochkirch, A. & Bushell, M.
Mantis religiosa is a widespread species and there is no evidence of threats at a global level. This species has however specific ecological needs and habitat reduction or degradation and direct killing may threaten local populations that are usually not composed of large numbers of individuals. Local initiatives of conservation or education are in some cases suggested.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:Mantis religiosa is a widespread mantid species with a nearly cosmopolitan distribution. It is present on all continents except Antarctica and South America (although its presence in Australia needs to be confirmed) but it has also been introduced in North America and Canada where it presence is often recorded. In the Palaeartic and Neartic regions it reaches 50° North latitude and expanded its distribution south reaching South Africa and the Indomalay regions (Ehrmann 2002, Berg et al., 2011).
Countries occurrence:
Afghanistan; Albania; Algeria; Andorra; Armenia; Austria; Azerbaijan; Bangladesh; Belarus; Belgium; Bhutan; Bosnia and Herzegovina; Botswana; Brunei Darussalam; Bulgaria; Burkina Faso; Burundi; Cambodia; Cameroon; Central African Republic; Chad; China; Congo, The Democratic Republic of the; Côte d'Ivoire; Croatia; Cyprus; Czech Republic; Denmark; Djibouti; Egypt; Eritrea; Estonia; Ethiopia; France; Gabon; Gambia; Georgia; Germany; Ghana; Gibraltar; Greece; Guinea; Hungary; Japan; Jordan; Kazakhstan; Kenya; Korea, Democratic People's Republic of; Kuwait; Kyrgyzstan; Lao People's Democratic Republic; Lebanon; Lesotho; Liberia; Libya; Lithuania; Macao; Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of; Madagascar; Malawi; Malaysia; Mali; Malta; Mauritania; Moldova; Montenegro; Morocco; Mozambique; Myanmar; Namibia; Nepal; Netherlands; Niger; Nigeria; Oman; Pakistan; Palestinian Territory, Occupied; Poland; Portugal; Qatar; Romania; Russian Federation; Rwanda; San Marino; Saudi Arabia; Senegal; Serbia; Sierra Leone; Slovakia; Slovenia; Somalia; South Africa; South Sudan; Spain; Sri Lanka; Sudan; Swaziland; Switzerland; Syrian Arab Republic; Taiwan, Province of China; Tajikistan; Tanzania, United Republic of; Thailand; Togo; Tunisia; Turkey; Turkmenistan; Uganda; Ukraine; United Arab Emirates; Uzbekistan; Viet Nam; Yemen; Zambia; Zimbabwe
Canada; United States
Additional data:
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:Mantis religiosa is one of the most common species of the order Mantodea, but it is not easy to observe in nature due to its cryptic behaviour and presence in small local subpopulations. In the Mediterranean area its density can vary from an average of 0.07 individuals per square meters (Northern Italy in: Battiston & Fontana, 2010) to higher densites in warmer localities (up to 2 individuals per square meter in central Italy (Battiston, unpublished data)), but always linked to particular habitats and environmental conditions and often restricted to small areas like open valleys, xeric clearings or roadside verges. Local subpopulation trends have been sometimes investigated for short periods (Battiston & Fontana, 2010; Lopez 1998), but data is scarce at the global level and for long periods of time.
Current Population Trend:Unknown
Additional data:

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:In Northern regions of its global distribution Mantis religiosa usually reaches the adult stage in summer and overwinters as ootheca. In southern regions adults can be found almost in every month of the year, depending on the latitude. Oothecae can resist to very cold winters with ice and snow and the adults can tolerate high temperatures in semi-desert environments (Battiston et al. 2010). Adults are generalistic predators that can be found in wild areas as well as urban gardens and seem to tolerate a moderate urbanization of the landscape. It is however a thermophilic insect that prefers natural environments with open and unmanaged spaces with small and dry bushes and tall grass (Battiston & Fontana 2010) with a high diversity of prey.
Movement patterns:Not a Migrant

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: Due to its adabtability this species is sometimes used as a pest control agent and it is sold as ootheca, but this seems to be a rare practice (Battiston et al. 2010). The species is sometimes captured in the wild (at any stage) and bred as a pet, but rarely sold or traded. There are no information on the impact of these practices on the conservation status of this species.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Threats to this species are not well known but habitat reduction (i.e. high urbanization, intensive agriculture etc.) or interferences to its life cycle (direct damage to oothecae or individuals) may locally threaten this insect. From historical times, Mantis religiosa is still often wrongly considered as poisonous, dangerous to humans or negative for agriculture and often killed intentionally. In some rural areas with closed environments direct killing may represent a significant threat to this species. Mantis religiosa seems to be very adaptable to moderate levels of urbanization, but intensive use of the landscape (tilling, cattling, overbuilding, etc.) may locally threaten this species, compromising its natural resources. The use of pesticides in agrosystems may also threaten this species directly or indirectly by killing/contaminating its natural prey and should be investigated.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Mantis religiosa usually needs direct conservation only if it is recognised as locally threatened, as has occurred in some European countries where this species is protected by local laws (Belgium, Germany and Luxembourg). However since this is one of the most common and widespread mantids of the world and an iconic insect, improving the knowledge on its biology and distribution with citizen science based projects and education toward this insect can sensibilise and contribute to the conservation of other species of mantids and insect-related conservation issues.

Citation: Battiston, R. 2016. Mantis religiosa. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T44793247A44798476. . Downloaded on 24 September 2018.
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