Orthodera novaezealandiae (Colenso, 1882)

REDUCED_NZ-Ento-Soc-Insect-Playing-Cards_Praying-Mantis RED

Common name: New Zealand praying mantis, rō, whē

Order: Mantodea      Family: Mantidae

Size: 35-40mm

New Zealand has only two praying mantises – the native and the invasive Springbok mantis (Miomantis caffra) which was first found in Auckland in 1978. The native is easily identified by a blue patch on the inside of its front legs which the Springbok mantis does not have.

Praying mantises are perhaps best known for two things: being fierce predators with keen eyesight and having females which will cannibalise males. The first is certainly true but, for this species, females hardly ever cannibalise males. Unfortunately, native males prefer the smell of Springbok mantis females over their own species. This is especially bad since female Springbok mantises are very aggressive and highly dangerous to any curious native males!


Fea M, Stanley C & Holwell G. (2013). Fatal attraction: sexually cannibalistic invaders attract naive native mantids. Biology letters, 9.

Ramsay, G. (1990). Mantodea (Insecta) : With a review of aspects of functional morphology and biology (Fauna of New Zealand ; no. 19). Wellington, N.Z.: DSIR Publishing.