Entomologists from Latvia have named Mantis religiosa as the insect of the year. The European mantid is not historically associated with Latvia. The line demarcating the northern distribution in Europe is south of Latvia. However the European mantid has proved flexible and adaptable in the past, rapidly expanding its distribution area after its introduction to North America.
The absence of the European mantid from Latvia was thought to be due to inhospitable climate. In the past decade, there have been multiple reports of European mantids in Latvia, primarily in the southeastern region of the country near the border with Lithuania and Belarus. These reports have been confirmed and verified.* One hypothesis is that climate change is allowing the European being updated to expand its range further north. While Latvia celebrates the arrival of the European mantid, its appearance may be a warning one more indication of climate change.
Pupiņš M., Kalniņš M., Pupiņa A., Jaundaldere I. 2012. First records of European Mantid Mantis religiosa (Linnaeus, 1758) (Insecta: Dictyoptera, Mantidae) in Latvia. Acta Biol. Univ. Daugavp., 12 (2): 175 –184.