Monday, September 17 2010

We caught a female about a month or two ago. She laid her eggs last night.
When we got her she had already gone through her molting phase. I think this
cuz she hasn't molted since we got her. But my question is do you think her
eggs are fertile? Could you respond via email. Thank you for your help. And
awesome website.  - Bobbie


Yeah, we did have one that just went through the motions. It's probably not fertile, judging by the time period. She should have produced the egg-mass earlier if she had mated prior to her capture. But just in case, tell them to securely tie the egg-mass to a bush outside. –JSY


Thursday, September 23, 2010 

To Judy:

Sorry for the late reply. It is very difficult to determine what exactly happened to the female mantis. If I understood correctly, the pair were mating, then a couple of days later you found the female (assuming it's the same female) as she is (was) in the photo?

It is not unusual for some discoloration, but this looks to be decay/bacterial infection, and there appears to be, what looks like a gash on the side of the abdomen (just beneath the edge of her wing. This area has a certain extent of elasticity that allows stretching for a larger capacity within the abdomen. Much like the weakened walls of an inflated balloon, the sides are also weakened when the abdomen is filled to (or near) capacity. Rupture is not the norm, but also not inconceivable. Perhaps a failed attack from a predator or even a defect in this particular mantis could have caused the apparent rupture. There does appear to be some staining near the posterior tip of the abdomen indicating previous egg-laying, however, not necessarily from the past few days.

This of course is all speculation. What actually happened will remain a mystery.

My apologies for not giving a definitive reply ...hope it helps anyway!! -JSY


Wednesday, September 28, 2010


We have seen quite a few Mantis around this summer here in the Willamette Valley in Oregon. Currently there is one on the window screen on a west wall of the house, and one on a rose bush on the east side of the house. We have a large greenhouse with lots of plants, and were wondering if  transferring the mantis to inside the greenhouse would help them last a little longer since cooler weather is approaching soon.

We also have plenty of bats around the old farm, and are surprised they've flown all around the mantis on the west side of the house and have left it alone. Will the mantis be good in the greenhouse? I know there are plenty of small insects in there, along with flies and bees.

Thanks for your interesting and informative website, and your advise.


Hi Brad,

Bringing in mantids should lengthen their lifespan (barring any drastic conditions) within the greenhouse, though I would delay it as long as possible in case the mantis has not yet had the chance to mate. In NJ, the longest I've seen a (female) mantis last was about Thanksgiving, if I remember correctly. By that time, much of her strength was gone, and when I gently placed her on my hand, one of the legs snapped- so their bodies will eventually break down even when kept warm. 

I have never worked in a greenhouse, but if crickets do not present any negative effects, I would bring in a few from a local pet store just to be certain the mantis has enough to feed on (sub-adults crickets, if you don't want them to lay eggs). 

I have never worked with bats, but from what I understand, they either hunt flying insects in mid-air using echolocation, or snatch them off the ground using the sounds produced by the insect. Certain insects (katydids, crickets, etc.) produce audible sounds, and all insects, when moving, produce enough sound for bats to hear. The mantis on the west side of your house is likely a female with an established position. She can remain motionless for hours, not producing any sounds for the foraging bats. So far, she's been lucky.

As far as I can see, there's nothing wrong with either leaving the mantids where they are, or bringing them inside, however beware: if you choose to bring them inside, and one or both are pregnant, they will produce egg masses (most likely on your plants). And they don't produce only one, they keep making them as long as they're fed well. If left unattended, within on egg mass, you may have 50-200 tiny mantids which you can either raise, or watch die (raising just 20 is a full-time job). Your best bet then would be to break off the twig with the egg mass, and securely tie it to a branch outside so it can sustain the winter. So please stay alert if this happens.

...hope this helps   - JSY 


October 4, 2010

Hello Praying Mantis .org,

I am Australian and am visiting my daughter who lives in North/West Cambodia. She has a pet Praying Mantis that came into her room and stayed some weeks ago. We have fed it grasshoppers and crickets and given it a little water at times. We like it very much. It has been eating a lot. Can they be over fed? Ours seemed to get very fat.

We didn¹t know if our Mantis was male or female until it laid a white egg case 2 days ago. Then it sprouted wings for the 
first time and now it appears to be dying. It can hardly move at all. Is that normal? It has been in this almost dead
state for two days. Do they usually die after laying their eggs? Or did we over feed it or something. Or will it recover?
What do we do with the egg case? Will we be able to keep any of the baby Matids after they hatch? How do we treat them?
Thanks for your information.
Peter and Tara 
Mantis fans.
Battambang, Cambodia. 

Hello Peter and Tara, 
Thanks for sharing your story and sorry for the delay in getting back to you. 
I know that is quite sad to see the mantis in that dying state.  Yes,
after a female lays her eggs, she will die soon after that, especially
this late in the season. 
I doubt that she was overfed, even though there is always that
possibility.  But a mantis is just like many other creatures, it can and
will get full and knows when to stop eating.  It simply will let prey go
by if it is not hungry.  So it sounds like your daughter took good care of
the old female mantis. 
Also, it is highly probable that the eggs are not fertile, unless she had
mated before the weeks she was kept in captivity.  Just in case, you may
want to secure the egg sac on a safe branch outside so the babies can
hatch in next summer if fertile. 
I hope this helps. –MM 

Hello MM, 
Thank you for your reply. 
The praying mantis described below has been in this dying state for more
than 5 days. It's awful to watch. Is there any chance it might recover or
would you recommend we put it out of it's misery? 
A new and slightly larger Praying Mantis arrived in the house two days ago.
It is going well but again the extra food it's getting from us and children
who love to feed it appears to be giving it a big belly which I presume is
it's egg sack growing. Will this go the same way as our old friend?
How much food should they get a day? They seem to be willing to eat almost
as much as they are offered. 
Peter and Tara 

Hi Peter & Tara, 
There's a species of mantis from Africa (Bud-winged Mantis) that has been
known to overfeed, (and with over 2,000 species in the world, there are
probably others) but generally speaking, mantids do not overfeed (though
they're known to apparently die of food poisoning). I don't know what
species you have, and I've never been to Cambodia, but I'm guessing it's
either a Tenodera, or Hierodula spp. (both prevalent in Asia).
Is the mantis still alive? Try putting a couple drops of water literally
on her mouth and see what happens. If she takes it in, keep doing it. Then
take a cricket, puncture a hole in its thorax (between the head &
abdomen), and literally hold the cricket to the mantid's head where the
oozing of the cricket's blood is touching the mantid's mouth. Then see if
she gathers up the strength to grab the cricket on her own.
As for keeping the babies (if they actually hatch), it's a tough job. You
would need access to hundreds of fruit flies and/or pin-head crickets
(yes, literally the size of pin-heads) to raise just 15-20 of them. You'd
know better than I on the abundance of tiny insects in Cambodia in the
months of Nov & Dec. So if you have these food sources, willing to put in
the time, & you're up to the challenge, I'd say go for it and you'll learn
a lot! I'd suggest let them hatch outside so that you can take in as many
or as few as you wish (and you'd always have the option of releasing them
back in the wild). Either way, it's best to secure the eggs on a branch
With your new mantis, keep feeding it and let the kids enjoy (but avoid
'stink beetles' or Assassin Bugs which may have harmful chemicals if
ingested). My guess is that it won't die from overfeeding. Unfortunately
'trial & error' is the only way you'll find out. -JSY 
October 12, 2010 
We've had several larger green mantis in our yard.  I think the orchards
bring them into the Okanagan Valley in BC.  I have some great close up
pictures of one , about 3 inches long, that caught a large grass hopper.
Very cool creature! 
thanks for the website.
i don't have as story but a question. i don't know if this is a forum for
this but i thought i'll try nevertheless.
i have a mantis in my kitchen which seemed to have strolled in about 15
hours ago and is probably lost. but it has been staying put behind a vessel
(occasionally doing that rocking movement when i hang around in the
kitchen). now, i must say i am terrified of most insects. this one too at
first but then seeing how calm this one is, i don't mind it. i can't think
of catching a live insect to feed it though - do they eat dead ones? i have
moths that come into my house and die naturally. but i guess mantises being
predatory, won't eat dead food.
i was hoping it wouldn't die of starvation. is that possible at all given my
phobia of insects (for feeding her. (i think it is a her)).
thanks for reading,
Thanks for your question Anju! 
I am glad you found a mantis in your house.  You'll find them to be very
different.  Yes they prefer live prey.  I once fed one a dead insect by
dangling and moving it in front of the mantis until it grabbed it.
But who wants to do that all day?  They are natural predators who prey on
small live creatures.  There are pet stores who sell little feeder
crickets if you don't like catching insects yourself. 
Check out some of the previous posts my brother and I wrote recently on
raising and feeding tips.  Good luck!  -MM

thanks a lot for replying! i live in chennai, india and i don't think insect
pets are common here so i doubt if we get feeder crickets.. so i was

anyway, day before yesterday i gave her water (sprayed water in that area of
the room) and i guess she figured that i am not gonna get around feeding her
real food and after a few minutes i saw her make an exit through the window.
i was happy (for her) because i thought she was getting weak and on the very
of dropping dead in a couple of days. it was awesome to see her climb up the
window and fly off - she looked energetic :-) i have a strange feeling she
is doing well (call me nuts). it just escapes me how she survived for about
48 hrs without preying. i've been underestimating insects all this time, i
take it.

thanks again for your email. i hope i meet more of these guys soon!
peace & take care,

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