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picture from Burf

The mantids can be some of the most difficult invertebrates to succesfully rear to adult stages. When you are only raising a few of them, you find yourself having to check their condition almost daily. This is by no means meant to be an authoritative work, but mearly a guide to help people succeed by reading, unlike my success through failure with many taxa!!!!
They are readily adaptable creatures, but ignoring even seemingly mundane factors can quickly result in their demise.

Housing mantids can be accomplished in a variety of ways. I use 1 gallon Jars, homemade screen cubes, and I also use a couple of old neodesha's! For best results a suitable size is roughly 4 times the length of the mantid and 3 times its height. Smaller conatiners aid you in feeding the amntid and have the ability to control the ambient settings much easier than larger enclosures. To successfully propagate them Use well planted 10 gallon aquariums ( I pay around $9.00 for them at Wal-Mart.)
Temperatures required will depend on the species being kept. Obviously the more tropical the species the warmer you will need to keep them. Temperature plays its most important role during the incubation stage of the mantid egg-cluster (or ootheca…plural= oothecae). Some species will hatch at room temperature, others require 90 degrees F, and still others require diapause . Most species ootheca do well at about 75-80 degrees F. You must maintain a constant moderate level of humidity though, as oothecae are VERY susceptible to drying out. This is the number one cause of them not hatching, although if there is too much moisture in the incubation chamber/container, mold may develop on the ootheca. Also, it is best to hang the ootheca from the top of the container, as the mantids will use gravity to aid their hatching.

For basic set up moist paper towel makes an excellent substrate. One can use things like cocnut husk and soils as substrate, each has its own pro's and con's....have fun and experiment. Temperature and ventilation will affect how long it takes for the paper to dry. I feed every three days on adults, and every two days on instars....when you go to feed check moisture levels..you may have to mist when you feed...too much humidity/not enough ventilation can greatly promote the growth of mold on any remaining food particles, mantid-waste, and other organics.

Ventilation is very important but make sure you monitor humidity......a good cross-ventilation can be accomplished by using screen boxes that have plastic along the lower third of the screen....

Feeding...the coolsest part of keeping these remarkable insects...
Use as much variety as you can...crickets are bad food items, so do not rely on them..occasional crickets will work but do not use them as a staple. I leave certain lights on throughout the summer and fall to gather flying insects for them, I also feed a variety of cockroaches...flies and other flying insects are also greedily consumed. Be creative, make sure though that the food you offer can not eat or injure your mantid, spiders, bees, wasps, etc....may be eaten or may kill the mantid...be careful when you experiment.

I lose a lot of males, as the females will often eat the male, start with his head, and while headless he still manages to pass on the needed genetic material...hollywood will make a movie of of that you wait and see...

There are tricks however to successful propagation without losing the male..one always introduce the female into the males enclosure...he is the one who knows what is where and it increases his chances of surviving...two feed them both HEAVILY..and if possible feed her something large and then place her in with the male while she is still eating.... bottom line is there is significant risk to the male..so if you are attached to him...don't risk him...
They can stay engaged for over 5 hours....seperate them immediately when they are finished.......or he is gonna become dinner.

The number one killer of nymphs is inadequate humidity and their inability to properly molt their exoskeletons...so reall pay attention!!!!
 

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Very cool


Excellect info and nothing to add, Nailed everything
that is relivent for general care guidelines.

Great work Croc.
 

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sounds good but you missed one thing, sexing them.

Femames have 8 easilys visable segments on the abdomen, and males have less. If my memory serves me correctly i think its 5.

Females also tend to be a lot larger than the males.
 

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my matis has just had its last shead its now 4.5'' and has it wings.

end of season soon tho.
 
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