is the largest family of the order Mantodea
, commonly known as praying mantises; most are tropical or subtropical. Historically, this was the only family in the order, and many people and references still use the term "mantid" to refer to any mantis; technically, however, "mantid" refers only to members of Mantidae, and not the 8 remaining families of mantises. Note that some of the most recent classifications elevate a number of the mantid subfamilies to family rank, e.g. "Iridopterygidae", "Sibyllidae", "Tarachodidae", "Thespidae", and "Toxoderidae" (e.g.), while other classifications have reduced the number of subfamilies without elevating to higher rank. Examples of both are given below.
Many species are found in North America, and the three most common are the European mantis (Mantis religiosa), the Chinese mantis (Tenodera aridifolia sinensis), and the Carolina mantis (Stagmomantis carolina). Of these, only the last is native to the continent - the European and Chinese species were introduced around the 1900s as garden predators in an attempt to control pest populations.
Subfamilies (two alternatives)