Mantis Montage

29 Nov
Chinese mantis first instar nymphs (Tenodera sinensis).

Chinese mantis first instar nymphs (Tenodera sinensis).

Here’s some video clips of the Chinese mantises I reared out of an egg case early this year.  I enjoyed watching them hunting fruit flies, grooming, fighting, and molting.  These are pictures of mantises in the first instar, or first molt, not long after hatching.  At this age they’re tiny and fairly vulnerable, but also fast and terrific jumpers.  I’ll include some pictures of adults in the next post.

Mantises are a lot of fun to raise as pets.  They’re low maintenance, fun to observe, and one of the more charismatic and interactive insect pets–they’ll turn their heads back and forth to watch you and even take bits of food offered with tongs.  In the spring you can find mantis egg cases (ootheca) for sale on a variety of garden websites as well as eBay.

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6 Responses to “Mantis Montage”

  1. Ted C. MacRae November 29, 2010 at 7:13 pm #

    Nice video. I like the part where the nymph keeps striking at a small mite or something crawling on the side of the container.

    • 6legs2many December 2, 2010 at 11:06 pm #

      I thought that was funny when I noticed it while reviewing my video clips.

  2. Kurt November 29, 2010 at 8:49 pm #

    Cool shot and clip, Ted. Been wanting to keep some pet mantids myself but getting food supply for them is a big problem here. Can’t get food supply from the store.

    • 6legs2many December 2, 2010 at 11:11 pm #

      It’s not such a big hassle when they’re older and you can feed them all sorts of things, but finding food for hatchlings is a pain. Luckily the local petstore carries flightless fruit flies, but they’re expensive and get everywhere. I tried them on small mealworms as they got bigger, but they’re so sight oriented they won’t go after prey unless it moves a lot or you hand feed with forceps.

      It’s been a fun experience, but I think in the future I’ll stick to older mantises I find in the field.

  3. Kurt November 29, 2010 at 8:51 pm #

    Oops..i mean Alison.

  4. Scott December 3, 2010 at 9:02 am #

    What a treat! All summer long I’d been hoping to run into some mantids here in PA, but no luck. Might want to try raising some myself.

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