Feeders for a violin mantis

6StringSamurai

Arachnosquire
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Apr 24, 2006
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I saw some pictures of violin mantises and they look amazing. I'm thinking about picking one up, but I did some homework on them and there is one aspect of husbandry that worries me.

According to a caresheet I found, Violin Mantises can only eat flying insects.

Here's a quote:

"You will find they will not take greatly to ground dwelling insects, such as crickets, locusts or worms. Not only will they not take to them, but feeding them can cause chemical reactions when producing ootheca, where no foam will be produced. Insects such as house flies, bees, dragon flies, damsel flies, moths and butterflies are all good examples of food to feed the Gongylus."

http://www.insectstore.com/gongylus.php

I can't think of a way to get a reliable supply of flying feeder insects. I'm not going to try to catch wild insects, because I don't really have time for that, in the winter there are none to be found and who knows where they have been and what they have been eating?

No stores around me sell flying feeders, I've never even heard of that.

My first thought was to tie a thread on a roach and dangle it, but what is the caresheet talking about with chemical reactions?

Does anyone here keep violin mantises? What do you feed them? Thanks!
 

1Lord Of Ants1

Arachnobaron
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Sep 9, 2010
Messages
312
No one has ever really proved that violins will halt oothecae production when fed ground-dwelling insects. But it does not really matter, since feeding Gongys insects like crickets is almost impossible. Gongys hang upside down on the highest spot in their enclosure. Crickets hide at the bottom. Gongys are designed for SMALL, flying insects. Aquiring flying insects is easier than you think - blue bottles flies are what you need. That's all, and the occasional moth from outside. There are several distributors over the internet, including many hobbyists. It's usually 6.00+ shipped for a couple hundred pupae. The challenge is keeping them alive longer than a few days. That's a whole different story. Gongys are 3-4 inches. BBs (blue bottles) are a little less than half an inch. As you guessed it, it takes a good amount of flies to fill up an adult gongy. In general, they are NOT a begginer species. Because of their strange shape, molting often leads to problems when humidity is not correct, sometimes death. They are what I would call the second hardest common species of mantids. Idolomantis diabolica being the hardest. (And most stunning, and expensive) After you've kept several mantids/species. You should be able to try them without *too much* of a problem. Might I recomend ghost mantids? Latin name Phyllocrania paradoxa - they are epic bugs packed in a small package, with all the easyness of a chinese mantid. They top out at around 2-2.5 inches, occasionally 3. The come in black, brown, tan, and green. The are VERY stunning creatures, with superb camoflauge. Blue bottles and other flies are their main source of food, though if they can get to them, crickets shouldn't be too bad, and should not affect them whatsoever. Dispite their looks, they are quite forgiving. A mist every 1-2 days, 75-85 degree temps, frequent feedings when young, everyother day when older, and you're set. They are easily bred too. When bought from another hobbyist, they are usually cheap. (I got two sexed pairs for 15$ shipped)
 

ZephAmp

Arachnobaron
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Mar 8, 2008
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If you wanted to try breeding your own food for one, you could try green banana roaches. The adults like to fly and are bright green, making them easy targets.
 

1Lord Of Ants1

Arachnobaron
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Sep 9, 2010
Messages
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If you wanted to try breeding your own food for one, you could try green banana roaches. The adults like to fly and are bright green, making them easy targets.
True, you can try those. Though if you're feeding more than a couple violins it might not be worth the effort, depending on how fast the roaches breed.
 

TigerLily87

Arachnopeon
Joined
Nov 16, 2010
Messages
11
Is this the same for my California Mantis? She hasn't touched the crickets I put in, but being wild caught I don't know how much she has been eating.
I've only seen those small flightless fruit flies in stores which I doubt will satisfy her.
She gave me a scare this morning, was on the ground laying on her back I thought she had died...then when I checked on her again she was back to her usual self. My hubby thinks she may have got hit with pesticides he thinks something is a little 'off' with her.
I'm not sure :?
If she doesn't eat by tomorrow I will probably release her, leave her with mother nature at least I tried.
 

1Lord Of Ants1

Arachnobaron
Joined
Sep 9, 2010
Messages
312
Is this the same for my California Mantis? She hasn't touched the crickets I put in, but being wild caught I don't know how much she has been eating.
I've only seen those small flightless fruit flies in stores which I doubt will satisfy her.
She gave me a scare this morning, was on the ground laying on her back I thought she had died...then when I checked on her again she was back to her usual self. My hubby thinks she may have got hit with pesticides he thinks something is a little 'off' with her.
I'm not sure :?
If she doesn't eat by tomorrow I will probably release her, leave her with mother nature at least I tried.
Why do that? WCs need time to adjust. My WC gonatista female didn't eat for 4 days. But several weeks later she has already laid 2 ooths and eats lots of flies. Take that cricket out and offer it late tomorrow. And no, California mantids will eat just about anything. Also - keep in mind adult females won't eat for a few days before they lay their ootheca. Judging from the size of yours, she's probably preparing to lay.
 

TigerLily87

Arachnopeon
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Nov 16, 2010
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Ok thanks for the tips :) I suppose I was just worried I was doing her more harm than good and didn't want to keep her captive if she wasn't happy.
I will do what you said, if she does lay do I need to separate her?
I shall look around for a better habitat for her tomorrow too, so she has more climbing space.
 

1Lord Of Ants1

Arachnobaron
Joined
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Messages
312
Ok thanks for the tips :) I suppose I was just worried I was doing her more harm than good and didn't want to keep her captive if she wasn't happy.
I will do what you said, if she does lay do I need to separate her?
I shall look around for a better habitat for her tomorrow too, so she has more climbing space.
It isn't 'required' but I like doing so. I can keep a closer eye on the temperature and humidity without disturbing the female. If she lays it somewhere hard to access, give the ooth a week to dry, mist it, and carefully peel it off. It isn't too hard.
 

6StringSamurai

Arachnosquire
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Good stuff
Thanks for the info, man. Lot's of good stuff.

I'm just not into the idea of starting a new feeder colony of flying insects right now. I'm in the mood for something different, but I'll stick with something that can feed off of my colony of lobster roaches.

I guess mantises aren't for me at the moment. I'll probably get into them some day, though.

Thanks again.

EDIT:

DAMN Ghost mantises are amazing looking animals. Do you think they might take to roaches?
 
Last edited:

1Lord Of Ants1

Arachnobaron
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Sep 9, 2010
Messages
312
Thanks for the info, man. Lot's of good stuff.

I'm just not into the idea of starting a new feeder colony of flying insects right now. I'm in the mood for something different, but I'll stick with something that can feed off of my colony of lobster roaches.

I guess mantises aren't for me at the moment. I'll probably get into them some day, though.

Thanks again.

EDIT:

DAMN Ghost mantises are amazing looking animals. Do you think they might take to roaches?
Like I said - ghost mantises will acclimate well to ground dwelling insects. As long as the roach can reach the mantid, your set. Just keep in mind Ghosts don't like to chase their food. Of course like Gongys, ghosts do best of flies. It is not requied though, unlike the violins.
 

zonbonzovi

Creeping beneath you
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We fed our ghosts on lateralis nymphs once they were large enough. Drosophila melanogaster when small then D. hydei after that. The visual stimulation helps alot. Didn't have much luck with dubia nymphs or banana roaches as they tend to sit in one place.

Would love to try raising the violins again, but damn are they finicky & difficult. Even when you do everything right, there's always the danger of a bad molt.
 

1Lord Of Ants1

Arachnobaron
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Sep 9, 2010
Messages
312
We fed our ghosts on lateralis nymphs once they were large enough. Drosophila melanogaster when small then D. hydei after that. The visual stimulation helps alot. Didn't have much luck with dubia nymphs or banana roaches as they tend to sit in one place.

Would love to try raising the violins again, but damn are they finicky & difficult. Even when you do everything right, there's always the danger of a bad molt.
Violins are easy peasy when compared to Idolos!
 

zonbonzovi

Creeping beneath you
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I was tempted last time the Idolomantis were around, maybe when I don't have so many projects. They are ab fab!
 
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