Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Mantis Ooths & A Gyna Epiphany

My Mantis religiosa female is doing quite well, and has laid two oothecae for me! 😁 Now, I'm not equipped to deal with mantid hatchlings yet, and TBH I don't have much interest in rearing this species myself, so all ooths laid by this female will be put outside where I found her. Which is just as well, considering I'm pretty sure these ooths need a diapause to hatch properly, could be wrong. 

Anyways, here are a couple pictures of one of them:

As you can see, a mantis oothecae is a weird, foamy looking structure, that conceals the eggs within. I'm pretty sure they hatch out alongside that white seam in the middle, usually a few dozen at a time, though numbers very between oothecae and species. 

Definitely an interesting thing to observe, I wonder how many this female will lay before passing away. 

Also, figured out why my Gyna capucina colony crashed...

Remember the female from my last post about this species? Unfortunately, I found her dead in the enclosure a little over a week ago... 😭 However, her death was not in vain, as it was seeing her body that made me realize what is going on with my colony... 
She must have died within a couple hours of me checking their bin, as her exoskeleton was still soft, but she had been completely hollowed out by her tankmates. I was wondering how and why they could have cleaned her out so fast, when there was still food in their bowls, when it hit me like a truck, THE BOWLS... 

Since the day I first started keeping this species, I've always given them their grain based foods in bowls, and put the fruits directly on the substrate, but, back in late June, there was a big oribatid mite infestation, they were swarming food that touched the substrate, so I sterilized the substrate and started putting the fruit in little food bowls too. Now, they've always eaten more fruits than proteins, which I assumed was just due to preference... but I actually think that this species just CAN'T FIND FOOD IN BOWLS, and ever since I started offering all their food in bowls a month ago, they've just been starving and EATING EACH OTHER... 🙃 That's why my colony has crashed, and why there weren't any bodies, which I thought was unusual considering when my nymphs died off due to overcrowding or other issues, their tankmates rarely consumed their entire bodies. 

Lately they've just been eating the pieces of fruits that some of the larger nymphs drag into the substrate, and I've been wondering why they weren't eating that much compared to normal... It's because the nymphs can't find food in bowls. As for why my recently matured adult female died, I'm not sure, the hungry nymphs may have pestered her to death and ate her, or maybe she was stressed from having escaped her enclosure for an hour or so a couple days beforehand, (which was due to me stupidly leaving their enclosure open after doing maintenance, something I've never done in my 5 years of breeding roaches).
But now that I think I know why my colony crashed, I'm hoping I can save them. There are still several subadult females in there, and my subadult males are all doing OK, so fingers crossed I can get some females fertilized and get them to give birth, now that I'm not starving my colony to death... So weird, the other Gyna species I've kept in the past never had this issue. 

Anyways, that's gonna do it for today, thanks for reading, hope you all found the information useful, I do try to be as transparent as possible with my failures and successes on this blog, as mistakes as simple as giving your roaches a food bowl can sometimes be a life or death situation... Stay safe, have a great day, and I'll see you all in the next post! 😉


  1. I’ve elected to use the “low walled” plate of Petri dishes for feeding my roaches as I was pretty reluctant to put food directly on the substrate...some of the roaches just eat so little that things would be a mess if I didn’t have some container for feeding.

    1. Yeah I use milk and juice caps as food bowls for most of my roaches, would be too messy otherwise, but certain finicky species like Gyna capucina have great difficulty finding food in bowls... Have had the same issue with Panchlora sp. "White" and a few Ectobiid species.