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Mantis fell from molt - anything I can do?

Discussion in 'Insects, Other Invertebrates & Arthropods' started by Lucidd, Sep 30, 2013.

  1. Lucidd

    Lucidd Arachnoknight

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    Hi,

    My brother gave me a praying mantis a couple weeks ago, and things have been fine at first. The mantis had a healthy appetite and adjusted to his new home quite well so I let him roam freely in a room that has little to no traffic. I have been checking on him daily and giving him food and water. He started turning away food and I wasn't sure if he was eating the spiders in the house or if he was molting, until I found him frozen in place on a shade in the window. I have been misting him to help with his molt since, which has been for a few days now.

    Today I went to mist him, as normal, but he fell when I did so. He is still moving his legs and mouth parts, so he's still alive. It seems he didn't have a good enough grip? I have read that they have a 75% chance of dying if they fall during their molt, but I am having trouble finding information if there's anything I can do to help him molt after he's lost attachment.

    For example, would it be easier for him to be laid on his back or tummy? Or what if I lay him on a ramped bed of twigs? Do his feet need to be in contact with a surface to be able to molt?

    Has anyone dealt with this before? I appreciate any advice.
     
  2. pperrotta03

    pperrotta03 Arachnosquire

    I dont think it would be too beneficial if you kept on trying to help it. Sucks when good intentions create bad situations. I would say he is definitely molting, as they lose ability to grip while undergoing the whole process. I think it would be best to let him try and do his own thing. The molt just fine in the wild, supplemental misting is good, but maybe it is unnecessary at this point. Hope he makes it!
     
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  3. Lucidd

    Lucidd Arachnoknight

    Thank you. I put him in a container so he will be safer. I really hope he makes it too. He's the friendliest/most curious mantis I've encountered and enjoys flying and landing on any person he sees. That is how my brother found him, he was outdoors at night and the mantis flew to him.
     
  4. pperrotta03

    pperrotta03 Arachnosquire

    What a friendly little bug. If something came flying at me at night it would scare the jezus out of me! Good thing he didnt instinctively whack at it
     
  5. Metallisch

    Metallisch Arachnopeon

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    Hi there

    If he was in the process of molting when he fell, then unfortunately it is almost certain that it will die. If it has not yet begun the process of actually molting yet, then perhaps the chances are better. I've never had a Mantis survive a fall mid-molt.
     
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  6. Tenodera

    Tenodera Arachnobaron

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    Guys. Flying.
    He's an adult male (I've also had some males with wonderful personalities). But he's not molting, he's dying. Males often go quickly without senescing, so I'd wonder if he came into contact with a poisonous substance or suffered an injury. I'm sorry.
     
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  7. Lucidd

    Lucidd Arachnoknight

    Thank you so much for the responses. I am sad to say it's true, he did pass.
    I did not realize only adult mantids could fly. Are there much smaller species that could be found in the US? I ask because about 6 years ago I tried to get what looked like a very small wasp out of the house. It was flying around a light in the room one evening. I caught it in a cup then saw the mantis arms. It was maybe the size of my fingernail and flew/ flickered its wings like some kind of wasp, but looked like a mantis.
     
  8. Metallisch

    Metallisch Arachnopeon

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    Good catch. I didn't even clue in on that part! Flew right over my head, you could say.
     
  9. Tenodera

    Tenodera Arachnobaron

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    Yes, there are! Stagmomantis is the most common native genus, and the adult males reach around 2 inches. Several other natives and introduced species can also fly. What you saw was likely a mantispid, a Neuropteran which looks and acts much like a mantis as an adult. They are distinguished from mantids by their transparent lacewing-like wings, small size, forelegs that are held differently, and amazingly iridescent eyes. The larvae are often predators of spider eggs. There is an American species which mimics wasps.
     
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  10. Lucidd

    Lucidd Arachnoknight


    Oh, very cool! I always wondered about that encounter. Hopefully I'll see another someday. I'm lucky if I see one mantis every couple years. Thanks again :)
     
  11. Tenodera

    Tenodera Arachnobaron

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    You're welcome!
    I very rarely see mantispids; sometimes they're attracted to lights.
     
  12. You've seen them in Iowa?
     
  13. Tenodera

    Tenodera Arachnobaron

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    I've seen two in Bettendorf, a little light brown species.
     
  14. Oh neat, I've always wanted to see one!
    I live a few miles from the Missouri river, so I'm on the opposite side of Iowa. I wonder if they are this far west...