T.E.R:R.A.I.N - Taranaki Educational Resource: Research, Analysis and Information Network

Praying mantis (New Zealand) Orthodera novaezealandiae)

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Mantodea
Family: Mantidae
Genus: Orthodera
Scientific name: Orthodera novaezealandiae
Common Name: New Zealand Praying Mantis, Garden Mantis, Green Mantis

The New Zealand Praying Mantis is usually bright green in colour (rarely yellow) with a thorax that is broad and flat and nearly the same width as the abdomen. They have a bright blue and purple patch on the inside of their front legs. They are commonly found amongst garden foliage, were they food ambushes small insects.
They lay eggs in foamy egg case called an ootheca. The ootheca has a woody appearance and has straight uniformed sides. They are usually attached to a leaf, stem, wall or fence.
After serval months the young hatch as smaller versions of an adult. After hatching the tiny mantids’ exoskeletons hardened and so to increase their size the young mantids have to moult. To reach adulthood the young go through 7 moults over 5 to 6 months.

The African species (Miomantis caffra) is not considered a pest species, but it is thought to be displacing the New Zealand native species (Orthodera novaezealandiae) in urban environments of northern New Zealand. When a New Zealand native praying mantis tries to mate with Miomantis caffra, the African species immediately kills it. This is thought to be a reason why the NZ species (Orthodera novaezealandiae) are in decline.


Photo below shows the difference between Orthodera novaezealandiae (New Zealand Praying mantis) and the African species, Miomantis caffra. Check the inside of the forelegs. The African species have a narrower waist.  (Click to enlarge)

Photo showing wingcover and wings

Head of Orthodera novaezealandiae
Photos below are of an mantis nymph (immature)

An Orthodera novaezealandiaes ootheca (egg mass) It is smaller and neater than the introduced African mantis and the cells are visable. The African egg mass have a tapered end and have a foam like covering. 

The NZ one when fresh have a white fluffy net over them. They also have figure 8 shaped cell entrances.
The case below is one day old.

Close up of ootheca (egg case)

An empty egg case after the nymphs have emerged.

Thanks to Wikipedia for text and information   http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0