I think mantids are awesome, though I have two reservations. One is that this species (common name: Chinese mantis) is apparently known to catch the occasional hummingbird or lizard, and I can't get on board for that. Hummingbirds and lizards should be alive. As much as possible.1
I also insist that they not get any larger if they expect me to continue to like them. I don't think this is being unreasonable. Four inches (10 cm) long: awesome alien-looking bug. Four feet (1.2 m) long: nightmarish monster that catches you in its knife-lined legs and eats you alive, beginning with your face.
This species is native to China, and was introduced for pest control around 1895, says Wikipedia. Why anybody would bother when North America had several perfectly good mantids already, I have no idea. There seems to have been a general feeling in the late 1800s that we should just introduce any damn species we like to North America, whether necessary or not. People in the past were weird.
Anyway. Seeing mantids around is one of the nicer parts of this time of year. I assume they're around the rest of the year, too, but smaller, and therefore easier to miss.
1 Oh! I've also seen hummingbirds this year, twice, at the Cannas. Which I didn't mention previously because I don't have photos -- they took off as soon as we saw one another. But I really did see them.