Mantids 2009

 
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MAS 75th Ann. Show
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Prologue:  Fall brings out the mantids across the country.  They've been there all along but evidently become more visible this time of year -- not so much in Des Moines this year but several continue to pop up across the country.  LA

Lisa Turney, Orange County, CA, August 29, 2009
Hi there, I just wanted to let you know how much I enjoy reading your info on praying mantids. My son and I found one in our yard about a week ago 
and have been caring for it. I buy it crickets, meal worms and catch 
flies for him (I think it's a him). He ate 4 flies, a worm, and a cricket today! What a piggy! I was kind of worried the other day because he didn't eat anything I put in his cage for 2 days. That night, I saw his exoskeleton and he was bigger. We were very excited!
I really like having him as a pet, and I've learned a lot from reading 
your info. How many times will he shed his skin? Will you be updating 
your web pages? Thanks again.

LA
4-inch mantid captured outside Aqualand three days ago by Kendall.

A:  Kendall caught the above mantis on one of his many cancer stick breaks outside Aqualand's front door a couple days ago.  The half-dozen we've raised from eggs are about one-third his size.  I'm not sure how many times they molt.  Once they get their wings, they stop molting. 
I update the pages nearly every day -- adding 10 to 20 pics a day.  Current count?  35,542 photos.  LA

Mike, October 16, 2009
Hello! I have recently stumbled upon your site and have become very interested in raising and breeding Praying Mantids for fun. I found your website extremely helpful for almost all the information I needed, but I have a few questions I'd like to ask before I get started.
This may sound silly, but do you know of any reliable distributors that, for lack of a better term, treat their breeding animals properly? I'm an avid supporter for proper treatment of animals in captivity and just want to make sure I buy from a distributor that is known for its ethical policies and isn't known for selling illegal species and other such issues.
Also, when breeding mantids, is inbreeding an issue or would it be more appropriate to breed mantids from two different egg sacks? Thank you for your time!

A:  I have never met a commercial mantis breeder.  I've always assumed that most egg cases were captured in the wild.  Martha just (Oct. 19) talked on the phone to a gentleman from Maryland.  He was most upset when he learned that mantids usually insist on live prey.  If this is an ethics problem for you, be aware.  I'm not sure if you're looking for free range mantids or even what ethical treatment of a bug consists of.  You will want to keep them in solitary confinement because they want to eat each other.  As for illegal species selling, this all depends on the state in question.  The Feds have their rules.  The states have their rules.  And cities have their own rules.

LA
Two female mantids from the same egg case.


I wouldn't worry too much about inbreeding.  Many specialists call it line breeding.  And in an egg case housing dozens or even hundreds, there seems to be quite a bit of diversity in their gene pool.  LA

Mike, October 19, 2009
Thank you for the information! I have found some companies and individuals who sells single mantids and egg cases, but almost all of them sell legal species as well as other species from places such as India and Indonesia, which are illegal almost everywhere in the USA as far as my (limited) knowledge goes. I just wanted to see if you knew any distributors that only deal with legal species, as I do not wish to fund a distributor that sells illegal species.
As far as ethical treatment goes, I just want to make sure I'm not buying from some guy breeding hundreds of bugs and other animals in cramped corridors for the pure sake of profit. But, seeing as you guys usually get yours from the wild, I may just have to grab some nets and cages and find some mantids the old fashioned way!
Thank you very much for taking the time to answer my questions. It has helped a lot!

A:  Usually you can catch mantids barehanded unless they're way high and hard to reach.  Thry're not as common in Des Moines this year as they were last year.  LA

Shelley Hughes, Los Angeles, CA, October 19, 2009
A female praying mantis decided to lay her egg sack on a piece of rug that is on my front porch.  I run a child care, so this is an exciting, accidental adoption.  My only problem is that I don't know if there is anything specific that I should do to insure the safe delivery of the baby mantids.  The weather is in the mid 60s to low 70s with an occasional 80+ day here and there.
1.  Should I move the rug with the eggs somewhere else?
2.  Do the eggs need a particular place/temperature to grow?
Thank you for any advice you can give.  Have a wonderful day!

A:  You don't need the rug at all.  As for temperature, I'm not sure.  The mantids that grow in Iowa all die outdoors during the winter.  The young emerge from the egg sacs in the spring and continue the species.  I don't know if the mantids you have are endemic to California or were shipped in from another state.  Here, we just pop the eggs in the freezer for a couple months then pull them when we want some to hatch.  About half the egg cases "hatch."  Maybe infertility.  Maybe global warming.  Maybe freezer burn.  Who knows?  I'd at least refrigerate your eggs when Thanksgiving rolls around.  You also might want to check further with your state entemologist.  Don't be surprised if they don't know either.  LA

Amy Arnold, DeSoto, KS, October 25, 2009
Here is Mandy. Rob made a habitat for her. The kids are very excited.

AA

AA

AA

A:  I'm putting your pix in the Q&As and the Mantis 2009 page.  LA

Val Reintzs, November 11, 2009
I understand if this email is odd enough to just be a time waster
for you, so thank you in advance and no problem if you do not reply.
I have been looking for info about  injured Praying Mantis because
I have one on my kitchen screen (about 2 days now), and I am worried
about it. The  right foreleg on its main body is only half the length
of the other. I don't know if it is changing color for camouflage
against the screen or if it is sick. I am worried about it and
wondered if you knew anything I could do to help it out.  This is PA
and a very damp area. The temperatures have been odd, frost for 2 days
and then 70 the next. It has a nice place for food to come by with
spider webs and I have been keeping a light on to attract bugs to the
area. Any thoughts would be great.

A:  Usually the first frost devasates all insect life, predators and prey alike.  It's too late in the season for your mantis to molt and repair its leg.  If you want to save it, bring it inside and feed amd water it.  Missing a leg is not a serious problem.  LA


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