A Brief Guide to Praying Mantids
A Brief Guide to Praying Mantids Introduction Mantids are carnivorous insects which rely on catching insects with powerful spiny forelegs. They rely on eyesight and are therefore attracted to fast moving prey such as flies and crickets. Their are 3 main types of mantids: Flower Mantids Dead Leaf Mantids Typical Mantids Flower mantids are brightly coloured and always in demand but can be difficult to rear. Dead leaf mantids usually resemble dead leaves or twigs and are more readily available. The most commonly available and easiest to rear species belong to the 3rd group “typical mantids”. Rearing Considerations Handling mantids is not a problem provided that you do not try to grip the mantid - always encourage it to walk onto the hand. If the mantid makes threatening movements leave it alone. Mantids need warmth typically 65F to 85F and will grow slower and therefore live longer at the lower end of the temperature range. Most mantids can tolerate dryish conditions however humidity helps when they are changing skins and in some species humid conditions encourge a green form rather than brown. An airy cage with a several layers of paper towel which are dampened periodically appears to work well as housing for a mantid. Mantids need climbing surfaces on which to perch and hang upside down both for feeding and skin shedding purposes Food should be provided frequently as mantids will not overeat and take most insects. They prefer soft bodied insects rather than insects such as beetles. Pet shops can normally supply tubs of crickets which provide a readily accessible food source. Fishing tackle shops can provide maggots which are the cheapest form of live food as the mantids will eat the adult flies. Mantids should not be kept together (except for breeding purposes) as the larger individual may make a meal of the smaller ones!! If you rear other insects consider keeping surplus or damaged specimens as food for your mantid. Many people who rear mantids also keep the vey prolific common Indian stick insect as it is easy to a maintain a colony as a food source.