Did You Know that Mantids Prey on Butterflies?

Praying Mantis at Raccoon Creek State Park

If I could only see the look on my face when I came around the bend on that Raccoon Creek State Park trail and spotted this Chinese Mantid at the top of a young 7 foot tall pine tree. What an image that would make! As in most situations like this I shot and shot and shot film exposures and ended up happy with this particular photo.

I’m not sure what she (?) is perched to capture there, but this is a bona fide inclusion in wingedbeauty because Chinese Mantids and European (‘Praying’) Mantids do prey heavily upon butterfly populations. Tendora aridifolia (Chinese m.) and Mantis religiosa (European or praying m.) are both introduced alien species that are now firmly and seamlessly part of our American fauna. So now you have seen another of our most prized images. It’s appreciated enough to hang on our breakfast nook wall in an archivally framed 11×14.

Should any of you make a definitive ID as to whether we have here a Chinese or an European it would be much appreciated.

Could Carnegie Mellon U., or Cal Tech or M.I.T or Georgie Tech or U Cal Berkeley . . .  Could any of them have designed a more efficient insect predator?