Chinese mantises can reach 5 inches long and range from pale green to tan—usually tan, with a green line running down the side (the edges of the forewings). The head is triangular and swivels, so the mantis can track prey without otherwise moving. Mantises perch atop tall plants or other areas with a view, waiting to snatch any insect that flies or crawls past.
Similar species: The European mantis (Mantis religiosa) is another non-native mantis introduced to America; it grows to about 3 inches, and its color ranges from tan to bright green. It is best distinguished by a round black spot on the inner surface of its big front legs (the inside of its "upper arms"), but it can be hard to see when their arms are held together. The Carolina mantis (Stagmomantis carolina) is native to the southern United States; it is smaller, only reaching about 2 1/2 inches. It is dusty gray, tan or green, and the wings extend only three-fourths of the way down the abdomen in adult females.