TIL Praying Mantis’ have never been an endangered species, and it has always been legal to kill them in the United States. The contrary claim was just an urban legend floating around since the 1950’s.

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  1. Connie Chung once picked a preying mantis off my ass outside Drake Diner in Des Moines (working the caucuses is strange). It was the first time I had seen one in Iowa in my 25 years there. My family there says they’re more common now.

  2. Same here but in Washington they are extremely common at least on the eastern side any ways. Use to keep a few around the house to keep down the bugs and spiders in summer. They are great for your garden as well.

  3. My school did a project where we would find praying mantises to raise in the classroom. I had never seen one in the wild until I found one on one of the picnic tables outside the cafeteria. I named him Maney.

  4. Still, you would be a fool to kill one. They are incredibly beneficial. Once mantises show up in my garden, I know my pest problems are solved for the season

  5. Not planning on killing them. I was just thinking how I haven’t seen one in at least a decade. So I checked to see if the finally went extinct, and found this out lol.

  6. I used to work on PNW prairie/oak Savannah. They are a threat to rare butterflies there. Don’t have the heart to kill them, but could arguably be the right move.

  7. They're also really cool and not nearly as creepy as pretty much any other insect predator. They're one of the few bugs that I'd take great care to capture alive and release it outside instead of just killing if I found one inside my house (not that I have ever found one inside).

  8. I had a clutch of praying mantis hatch out of one of my juniper bushes and later that year my new loblolly pine trees were nearly decimated by redheaded pine sawfly worms. I have little faith in their pest control lol.

  9. I can say for certain every kid I knew growing up thought this was a real thing. That and we were scared to death they would pull out our eye all as defense mechanism. Being serious too.

  10. I don’t want to speak for a whole state, but at least the majority of people in NE Ohio believed this. It’s widespread enough to be a common google search 🤷‍♂️

  11. I remember hearing it as a kid. Probably just some adult hoping to keep kids from messing with the weird bug in their garden.

  12. Maybe if the American mantis would work harder the Asian mantis wouldn't have any jobs to take in the first place.

  13. I remember our first grade teacher telling us this after one somehow got into the classroom and scared some of the kids. Some wanted her to stomp it or whatever. There was one kid in our class named Donnie who was a real SOB even at 6. When he learned it was “illegal” to kill them, that little son of a bitch made it a point to be a one kid praying mantis hit squad. That was 60 years ago. I wonder where that jerk is today.

  14. People were still aware of endangered species prior to 1973, and The US still made laws to safeguard them. The case of the Mantis is a legend though, so yes.

  15. Shout out to whoever started that rumor and thus is responsible for the angry lil dudes and dudettes who guard my garden. I have yet to buy one of those mantis egg kit things but those lil dude still show up and help keep my plants safe.

  16. I heard it as an eerie whisper from a bush. "Don't kill praying mantises," it said in a dry, crackling voice, "or else". The "or else" was echoed by all the other bushes on the street. As I turned the corner, a praying mantis in the middle of the sidewalk rubbed his little legs together, and said, "pass it on to all you meet."

  17. Quite the opposite of protected, I am in a native gardening group and since most of the mantids are invasive Chinese ones they actively encourage destroying their nests when found.

  18. I get scared of words that end in “s” that I’m trying to do grammar on. So sometimes I just slap apostrophes’ around.

  19. I don’t know if it’s used correctly in this sense, but there are times where it is supposed to be like that.

  20. Why would you WANT to kill them though? For the most part they are predatory insect species that gets rid of a lot of the pests that bother humans. Aphids, flies, spiders, mosquitos, crickets, locusts, and occasionally vertebrates like small snakes, mice, shrew, and amphibians.

  21. Those are invasive mantids. Tenodera sinensis is the invasive Chinese Mantis, and it outcompetes the native Carolina Mantis (* Stagmomantis carolina*).

  22. I feel like it's mostly a really expressive seeming bug. It ~feels~ more cruel to kill one than a lot of other bugs, it just feels like a little guy.

  23. As a kid one flew in my face as I walked out of a store one summer and I killed it and thought I would be hunted down and thrown in jail lol

  24. Why would you want to kill the singularly most helpful bug??????? Zero plant diet, eats bugs who EAT OUR FOOD, self limiting population, looks cool, and zero danger to humans.

  25. Happy to report they are thriving in eastern Washington! There's usually 1 or 2 every 10 feet or so on my farm. Crazy to watch them hiss and fight, and mate when they get big. And fly!

  26. Damn dude all these comments of people never seeing one. I've seen if I had to guess at least 20. We loved praying mantises and also thought this legend was true. Blew my mind. After reading I still felt this weird childhood "oh no dats illegal dont do dat" I guess I got that piece of info in the formative years cause now that shit is ingrained lol

  27. An urban myth like that hurts no one except pests. I imagine most parents who told their kids that (ahem me) wanted to ensure any in their gardens weren't harmed. I was literally today years old when I found out this was an urban myth. All you parents and future parents out there... keep spreading this one, it's a good one to pass down.

  28. Yep, my knowledge of this came from them being our state insect (also, why?), so we were always told as kinds to kill one would be against the law.

  29. Hmm. Strange. I was never afraid of grammar, but I was scared of mantises's's when I was little. I thought, "not only do they have good on their side, but they have the strength and will to rip heads off."

  30. Lol did they forget to tell you it was other mantises heads that they rip off? I mean I misunderstood stuff like that a lot as a kid so fair enough

  31. Or maybe I’m bringing a unresolved political issue to light. Inspiring people like yourself to start a campaign to abolish the slaughter of praying mantids.

  32. The only one I ever saw in the wild was crawling on my car. I had to get to work so I drove off figuring it would fly away. I found the remains in the engine compartment weeks later.

  33. Im in Southwest PA and I have only seen a handfull in my lifetime including one that was pretty effing big.

  34. I have never heard of this urban legend before. I’ve seen them here and there, last time was a few years ago when I almost stepped on one in the parking lot of my apartment building.

  35. The first time i saw a Praying Mantis was in my garage when I was around 8 or 9. I ran to my Dad crying because I thought is was an alien. 😅

  36. If I’ve learned anything about praying mantis’ from Reddit it’s that they harbor unimaginable horrors when squeezed in water.

  37. It’s not. You can read the comments here or research yourself if you’re interested in facts.

  38. The title pretty much explains it. There is an urban legend that this is an endangered species about to go extinct. I believed this my whole life. Today I learned that it is not true. That is the “end game” i guess.

  39. I remember walking through the parking lot after work one night, and I noticed juuuust in the nick of time that I had a praying mantis underfoot. He's looking at me like "oh, shit!"

  40. There is a praying mantis egg sac on a rose bush right outside my living room window and I can't wait for it to hatch. I've been keeping an eye on it all winter to make sure it survived. From what I've read it should be consistently warm enough between June and July for the little ones to come out.

  41. In my early 20's I had a moment where I pulled up to my apartment, and the second I shut the engine a good sized mantis dropped onto the windshield. I will admit, pretty cool.

  42. Why would anyone kill praying mantises? Serious question, I truly do not know if there could be some "valid" reason.

  43. This post wasn’t to say “yay, we can now stomp as many as we see!” Many people, myself included, believed this myth that there would be a heavy fine if you did kill one because they are an endangered species. This is not true. It’s mind blowing for many of us who have always thought this way.

  44. However, they're perfectly harmless to humans and all they want from life is to eat flies, mosquitoes and other insects, so there's really no reason to kill one.

  45. Yeah but...you still shouldn't kill them. They're badass little Scythers that can't hurt you unless you literally put your hand in its mouth

  46. Yeah it’s not the destruction of habitats, the rampant mite problem, the pesticides sprayed everywhere, air pollution, droughts or climate change which encompasses the last two problems as well.

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