Help me!

Katy

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I have searched high and low for information on hatching and raising praying mantids from the start, and no one seems to be interested in these mantids. I have kept praying mantids in the past, but this is my first time trying to raise them from the eggsack. Right now I have a few ootheca, I have no idea how to care for them, if anyone has information, can you reccomend a book, website or anything, please help me. If you don't have anything about praying mantids specifically, I think a mantid such as the carolina or chinese mantid would be require about the same type of care, they live in the same area, so anything about them would help a lot too. Thanks,
Katy
 

Katy

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Praise the lord! lol Thanks a lot!
 

Wade

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The Chinese ootheca (egg case) are super easy to hatch...kept in the 70's or 80's F, they'll hatch in about 30 days. Carolinas usually require a cooling period. If they've already been cooled, you're probably good to go.

The egg cases should probably be suspended in the hatching container. The newly emerged mantids kind of repel and hang out of the ootheca. They "molt" (I'm not sure if this is a true molt or not) out of the membrane their encased in. They do this from a hanging position, so that's why it needs to be suspended.

You'll want to start working on a source for small feeders before they hatch. Fruit flies are probably the most convienient. You can house them individually to avoid cannibalism, or you can house them in a large, well planted cage as a group. Providing plenty of space, food, and cover will reduce, but usually not eliminate, cannibalism.

A nice little book on mantid husbandry is "Praying Mantids: Keeping Aliens" by A. Lasebny and O. McMonigle, published by Elytra & Antenna. I think you can get it through Amazon.com, but if not you can contact the publishers directly: ElytraandAntenna@angelfire.com

Wade
 

Katy

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What do they do once they molt out of the membrane? Do they climb back up it, or should I put some sticks and things for them to get on once they molt. I don't have any fruit flies, but would it work if I crushed a tiny cricket's head and gave it to them? Do you think they'd communal feed?
 

jezzy607

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It is pretty important that mantids have active prey, because they only recognize something as food if it moves around. also it is important that the young mantids are able to grasp their food, otherwise they will not eat the item if it is too big. If by asking if they eat communatively, you meant do they share, the answer is no. the only way you can successfully feed newly hatched mantids of most species is with either pinheads or fruitflies, or another insect that size, otherwise they will eat each other.
 

Katy

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Ok I didn't think they'd share, thought I'd ask.
 

Wade

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Letting them eat each other at first may be the most practical way to go if you're talking about the Chinese, as their ootheca may contain hundreds of nymphs. I usually split them up after the heard has been thinned to a managable number.

Wade
 

Katy

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Well considering that they will eat eachother anyway, I am not going to try to stop them. This is mantis religiosa, if i spelled that right. Just your average praying mantis in Ontario. Does anyone know how many nymphs per ootheca I could expect from one of these? I've heard anywhere from 30 to 300. I dont really want to see my babies eat eachother, but it would be a sort of survival of the fittest, right? Like how the lions go after the weak wildebeast. I've never seen a cannibalistic wildebeast though!
 

Wade

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I wouldn't let it go all the way to one. Generally, you want to rear as many as you feel you can handle. This is becuase you will probably loose some in bad molts, etc along the way. When I split mantids up, I usually use a 32-0z deli cup as a container for each, with a section of the lid being screened to allow for good ventilation. I include a few sticks for climbing, but they usually end up hanging upside down from the top. Smaller mantid species can be kept until adulthood in the cup. The important thing is that whatever container you use should be at least twice as tall as the mantid is long, to allow space for molting, which they do hanging upside down. I mist daily to allow them to drink.

If I were you, I'd probably shoot for raising around 20. If 10-15 make it all the way to adulthood, I'd say you're doing pretty good.

Wade
 

Katy

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Well I wasn't going to let it go to one, I'm stocking up on containers and everything now. I'm going to go get some plants for them to climb around on, and yes, I always found mine hanging upside down from the lid. I have covered the inside of the tank with mesh so they can run around on that too. No one has answered this, but when they molt out of the membrane what do they do?
 

Wade

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They either climb up or drop off. You will want some sticks in there for them to climb on.

Wade
 

Katy

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I've put in a bunch of fake plants and sticks for them to climb on when they hatch.
 

Katy

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Will the eggsack look any different just before they hatch? Will it change colour, have a different texture to it, etc etc?
 

Wade

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I've never noticed anything different before hatching, but after hatching the cases often have a rougher texture, probably from where the individual compartments open.

Wade
 

Katy

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Ok, I'm just getting antsy after a few weeks of them being heated and all, so they'll just pop out all of a sudden with no warning?
 

Wade

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Pretty much. By the way, don't let the container get too dry, espesially if you're supplementing the heat. Many heating devices will dry the air excessively. Chinese ootheca are pretty resilliant, but don't push it.

Wade
 

Katy

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I'm going to get some sand to hold the moisture in some more, but for now I'm misting them twice a day, should I get my mom to do it a few times while I'm at school? I've got a little 40 watt bulb heating it right now, just the normal kind you use for lights around the house, and the temperature is in the high 70's to low 80's. Should I mist more often as it gets closer to them hatching? Do you know if they tend to hatch at a certain time of day? I'm just worried that the screening is too big and they'll hatch in the middle of the night and be all over my room by the time I wake up, if they do tend to hatch at a certain time, I can at least be prepared. I don't have another lid to replace the one I have right now. Thanks for the help.
Katy
 

Wade

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It sounds like you have everything uder control. If the screening is at least as fine as the type used for windows, it should be fine enough to keep the mantids in. Window screen is not, however, fine enough to keep fruit flies in. I usualy mist young mantids once a day to give them the opprotunity to drink.

Wade
 

Katy

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Uh oh! The screen I have it a bit bigger than window screen, it's a lid meant for reptiles. The mantids I've had before aren't really intent on escaping though, they just hang around on the roof so maybe the urge won't get to these ones. I have some potting soil in there, and that seems to be doing a good job of holding the moisture in well. This is just out of curiosity, but how well do mantids see colour? I have fake yellow flowes and ivy in there right now, I wonder if they are attracted to certain colours?
 
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