The State Insect
The European "praying" mantis (family: Mantidae, order: Orthoptera) officially became the State Insect on October 1, 1977. The name "mantis" (derived from the Greek word for "prophet" or "diviner") appropriately described the mantis' distinctive habit of standing motionless on four hind legs, with the two highly specialized forelegs raised in an attitude of meditation.
The European mantis is not native to Connecticut. It originated in Northern Africa, Southern Europe, and temperate areas of Asia. These mantis can be found, however, throughout the state from early May or June until the cold weather sets in, when they die rapidly.
Harmless to humans, and averaging 2-2 1/2 inches in length, this small green or brown insect feeds on aphids, flies, grasshoppers, small caterpillars and moths. Although probably not a significant factor in biological control, mantis are beneficial insects for farmers and are therefore symbolic reminders of the importance of the natural environment to human and biological survival.
Reproduced from the Connecticut State Register & Manual with permission of the Secretary of the State.