New Zealand has only one species of mantid, an Australian insect which established itself in New Zealand soon after the beginning of European colonisation. It is a very common member of the insect fauna of urban areas but also occurs in most other areas. It is a green insect about 1½ in. long, with large wings folded flat over the abdomen. The forelegs are remarkably well developed for grasping prey. Food consists of other insects and small arthropods, and the name of praying mantid is applied to the insect because of the habit of holding the grasping forelegs in a pious attitude while waiting for prey. Eggs are laid in a mass arranged in a definite pattern of rows and glued together on to branches of trees, fence posts, and other objects.
by Roy Alexander Harrison, D.SC., Senior Lecturer in Agricultural Zoology, Lincoln Agricultural College.