More mantid questions (ootheca hatching and youngin's)

Marc_C

Arachnobaron
Old Timer
Joined
Nov 4, 2002
Messages
438
Questions:

1. I've read on several websites that females can lay several ootheca after mating. For some of the more common species in the trade, what are the average numbers of ootheca per female?

2. Wade, you told me that the Chinese mantid didn't need any sort of cooling period. Does any other mantid ootheca need any sort of cooling period?

3.What are the chances for ootheca to be stillborn, for some of the more common species in the trade?

4.I've read that on a few websites that it is better to let ootheca hatch in a larger tank and keep all the nymphs together due to it being easier to keep humidity up in a larger tank for the nymphs. Provided that I have space to keep each one seperate, should I? and what has/hasnt worked for you in trying this?

5th and final. Anyone have some tips on breeding any of the more common species in the trade? Is there any special temp or love potion that seems to work wonders?


I know that there are a lot of questions, but I really value the opinions of the people on this board. In particular Wade has been really helpful in answering the questions that I have posted. Thanks to everyone who replys and to Scott for making such a cool website.
Marcus-Sparkus
 

Wade

Arachnoking
Old Timer
Joined
Aug 16, 2002
Messages
2,933
1. I've read on several websites that females can lay several ootheca after mating. For some of the more common species in the trade, what are the average numbers of ootheca per female?

Although I've kept a few exotics, all my BREEDING experience has been with NA species (including the introduced Chinese). I'd say the average number is around 4-6, but I did have one produce 8 once.

2. Wade, you told me that the Chinese mantid didn't need any sort of cooling period. Does any other mantid ootheca need any sort of cooling period?

I think most of the tropical ones in the trade don't. I've heard that Stagmomantis carolina does, but I've hatched a different Stagmomantis sp. without it. Oddly, I've never tried to breed S. carolina, even though it's very abundant where I live.

3.What are the chances for ootheca to be stillborn, for some of the more common species in the trade?

If you mean that the ootheca are infertile and never hatch, the chances are pretty high, unfortunately. Unamated females of many (all?) species will make infertile ootheca that will therefore never hatch. Also, some ootheca can dry out if not kept at a proper humidity. This doesn't seem to be an issue with the Chinese, however. Deliberately sending somebody an infertile oothea is an out-and-out rip off, but it's been known to happen, unfortunately.

4.I've read that on a few websites that it is better to let ootheca hatch in a larger tank and keep all the nymphs together due to it being easier to keep humidity up in a larger tank for the nymphs. Provided that I have space to keep each one seperate, should I? and what has/hasnt worked for you in trying this?

Maintaining humidity in idividual cups shouldn't be too hard, but remember that they are senstive to poor air conditions. The big problem is going to be providing food. Newly hatched mantid nyphs are tiny. If you split them up individually (for the Chinese, expect 150+ nymphs!), you're going to have to provide appropriate prey for each one. Some species (especially the real cyrptic ones like the dead leaf and the orchid) will not go after prey on the ground and will prefer insects that fly or climb to the top. Usually this means fruit flies for the nymphs. My practice has been to keep the group together for the first week or so and let them canibalize a little. This insures that at least they won't starve, plus the population will be reduced to a managable number.

5th and final. Anyone have some tips on breeding any of the more common species in the trade? Is there any special temp or love potion that seems to work wonders?

After their final molt (most species will have wings at this point), allow a couple weeks before attempting breeding. The females are generally bigger, although how much bigger will vary with species. Chinese females are only a little bigger, while Carolina mantid females are the same length, but much, much bulkier than the males. Some species take this to an extreme. Orchid mantid females dwarf the males. Some think the size difference is an evolved defense...if the female can't reach the male while mating, she can't eat him! This is generally the biggest problem when mating mantids. One trick is to give the female a big cricket or cockroach right before introducing the male. She'll be too busy eating to attack him, and he can mate successfully. Some species should be left overnight, while others can be taken out as soon as copulation is complete.


Elytra & Antenna came out with a good mantid husbandry book called "Preying Mantids: Keeping Aliens" by A. Lasebny and O. McMonigle. You can contact them at ElytraandAntenna@angelfire.com

Anyway, thanks for the kind words!

Wade
 

jezzy607

Arachnolord
Old Timer
Joined
Dec 29, 2002
Messages
619
The only mantids I can think of that need a cooling period are Mantis religiosa(sp?) and Stagmomantis carolina

I've had Chinese mantids lay as many as 7 oothecae, and carolina mantids lay as many as 5, but in order to insure all are fertile I would mate the female again after she lays 3 oothecae

I agree with Wade on all the tips, he knows what he doing, I just thought hearing some of it from two different people would make you feel that much better!

-Jesse
 
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