Monday, September 21, 2020

My New Praying Mantis!

Well, it happened, I got my first pet praying mantis! 😄 An adult female Mantis religiosa! This species is the OG, standard mantis species, introduced from Europe, and honestly not a species I ever thought I'd be keeping. But when I found this girl and brought her home for pictures, I fell in love with her disposition and intelligence for an invertebrate... So I kept her. 😅 I found this female underneath a piece of wood on the ground, where she had just finished laying an ootheca.

Mantids are similar to roaches in many aspects, they share a lot of morphological features, they lay their eggs in oothecae, and used to be the the same group as Blattodea. There's even a whole family of mantids known as "bark mantids" that are flattened and very similar in appearance and behavior as some bark dwelling roaches. 
Unlike most roaches though, mantids are predatory, and they are good predators at that! The one thing I like least about the predatory inverts I've kept is they all seem to have crappy eyesight, and hunt by feeling their prey. Sometimes they take forever to size them up, and don't like the feel of certain prey item types... But mantids are visual predators with excellent eyesight, and feeding this female has been exceptionally easy and fun to watch, she isn't too picky about prey shape or type either, so long as it moves, she's interested. 

I have her set up in a gallon jar with some sticks for her to perch on, though she spends a lot of time up on the lid, which I hot glued some cork tile pieces to, so she can grip it better. The jar is well ventilated, and there is a thin layer of coconut fiber at the bottom, which I'm keeping humid. I'm feeding her mostly Eleodes spp. larvae, which she eats with ease. 

Here are some pictures of her:

Such a cool invertebrate, keeping her has reinforced my wishes to keep one or two of the rarer, exotic genera in the hobby, hopefully I'll be able to bring these hopes into fruition within the next year or so...
As for this female, I'll probably keep her until she passes away, and likely will put any oothecae she lays outside, as I'm not quite set up to care for baby mantids at the moment, and besides, I think the oothecae of this species require a diapause to hatch, so kind of annoying. 

Anyways, that's gonna do it for this post, thanks for reading everyone, I hope you enjoyed, stay safe, and I'll see you all next time! 😉


  1. Really like the look of a “classic” green mantis. I usually see one or two mantids a year and they’re always tan, never green.

    1. Yeah, me too. I've also seen tan adults here, the coloration is variable and I think partially determined by their surroundings.