Ground Mantid

collected in 1986
Scientific Name:
Litaneutria minor

This is the only mantid native to Canada. Here, this rare predator is known only from the sandy grasslands of British Columbia in the extreme southern Okanagan Valley near Oliver and Osoyoos – a threatened and disappearing ecosystem. It lives on the ground and in low shrubs where its dusty grey-brown colour makes it hard to see. This species is not known to fly, even though the males are fully winged. Females lack wings entirely. Like many other mantids, the female eats the head of the male during mating – the ultimate sacrifice!

There are very few specimens of Ground Mantid in the Royal BC Museum Collection for two reasons. The first is that this insect lives in an endangered ecosystem, so there is obvious concern for its populations and the impact of over-collecting. But even if it were common, the Ground Mantid is such a master of camouflage, it is incredibly difficult to find!

Don’t confuse this with the much larger Praying Mantis, which was brought to the Okanagan from Ontario in the 1930s to control grasshoppers. Praying Mantis, originally from Europe, comes in brown and green forms and is fully winged in both sexes.

This object selected by Claudia Copley.