Praying Mantids

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Praying Mantids

Post  Katnapper on Wed Oct 23, 2013 10:55 pm

I've been a lover of all animals all my life; but there are a few species of which I have taken an in-depth interest.  For several years I kept, raised, bred, photographed, and studied numerous species of praying mantises, buying, selling, and trading them worldwide.  I absolutely loved it.  But it was an extremely time intensive, not to mention expensive hobby with the number of mantises I was keeping at one time.  I had to forgo my mantis hobby a couple of years ago, but I have tons of photos I took.  They are not the kind of photos you get to see every day; and as fellow animal lovers I thought you all might like to see some of them.  One of my other hobbies is photography, and I especially like taking close-ups of small things whose details cannot be seen with the naked eye... but that are exposed when the photos are viewed via computer.  I'm obviously not a professional photographer, but I like to think some of my shots are pretty neat.

So I'll start out with Blepharopsis mendica (common name Devil's Flower Mantis or Thistle Mantis).  I never did successfully breed B. mendica.

(Note:  "Praying mantids" and "praying mantises" are both proper and acceptable as the plural of praying mantis.)

B. mendica ~L3 nymph


Shed exoskeleton after molting


Close-up of adult male preening


Adult male showing distinctive feathery antennae


Adult male, top view of shield
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Re: Praying Mantids

Post  Brandon on Thu Oct 24, 2013 7:51 am

Awesome those are some cool pics!!
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Re: Praying Mantids

Post  DavidZ on Thu Oct 24, 2013 8:12 am


Really creepy and kinda cool at the same time. :-)

Always loved them.

Thanks for sharing the pictures, hope you post some more.

DZ
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cool pics

Post  Gunfighter_357 on Mon Oct 28, 2013 8:38 pm

Should maybe think about sending some to National Geographic or something. Never know you might have something they could use......who knows you could be the new Ansel Adams of the bug world. Just a thought but, Im sure you have heard it before.
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Brunneria borealis - "Brunner's Mantis" or "Stick Mantis"

Post  Katnapper on Wed Nov 27, 2013 3:57 am

Brunneria borealis - Common name "Brunner's Mantis" or "Stick Mantis"

These mantids remind me of slim green beans, lol.  They look similar to Walking Sticks also, but are a totally different order.  Walking Sticks are herbivorous phasmids, whereas all mantids are strictly carnivores.  B. borealis is native to the U.S. in the southern zones only, and are all females which reproduce parthenogenically.  They come in both tan/light brown and green and are rather long for a mantis.  Very timid and fragile species that doesn't fly.  I love their long, prominent forward facing antennae!  They were interesting to raise, but somewhat boring action-wise (they rarely move about); and they were tedious to feed, refusing to be hand-fed.







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Re: Praying Mantids

Post  DavidZ on Wed Nov 27, 2013 9:28 am



Very cool.


DZ
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B. borealis nymph

Post  Katnapper on Tue Jan 28, 2014 2:55 am

I noticed I'd previously only posted Brunneria borealis adult pics.  Here is one of a nymph I found while looking back through my photos...

B. borealis L1 nymph on the business end of a chopstick.  Chopsticks are the perfect mantis-wrangling tool for smaller mantids.  Wink 
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Cilnia humeralis (Wide-arm Mantis)

Post  Katnapper on Tue Jan 28, 2014 5:23 am

Cilnia humeralis, common name "Wide-arm Mantis," is a fairly "normal" looking mantis with a classic body shape, distinguished mainly by their characteristically wide "forearms."  They come in both green and tan/brown variations.  The adult females look very pretty and graceful, even with their sturdy frames and mid-length wings that for some reason remind me of petticoats.  This species is fairly robust as adults, but there became a scarcity a few years ago of them in culture - I believe as the males are highly suceptible to being eaten by the females during mating (so people were having trouble successfully breeding when attempted), and also I think because many people weren't as interested in breeding them as some of the "newer" and more "exotic" species becoming available in culture at the time.  I hatched and raised a generation of this species from a fertile ooth I purchased; but was unable to breed them successfully myself as adults (not for lack of trying!).  I even went to the extreme length of experimenting with putting homemade "cones" made of paper around the females' heads to try to prevent them eating the males during mating sessions.  It didn't work.  I put 2 adult pairs in a 12"x12" net cage for the experiment, with both of the females coned.  Somehow the females ended up killing one of the males even so; and I think the other male was either just too afraid of them or thought the cones made them too unattractive to mate with, lol.  The cones ended up not being a good idea anyway, as they were suceptible to moisture damage which weakened their protective shape; and the edges of the cones also ended up cutting into and damaging the females' bodies from the friction of moving and the sharp edges of the paper continuously resting on and rubbing against the upper thorax.  So it was a "fail" that I never tried again with any other species.  In the recent past year or so I have seen them offered for sale, so gladly somebody has been successful at breeding them since.

This was the only species of mantis that I actually eventually became almost afraid of which to handle the adult females after a particularly painful grabbing/biting episode by one on my finger.  Mantids normally have no inclination or interest at all in biting humans.  I've only been forcefully grabbed and/or bitten a rare two or three times out of all the mantids I've handled (and in each case it was an adult female).  I believe the C. humeralis that grabbed and bit me was tired of the photography session and being handled for so long, or felt threatened in some way.  All praying mantises are extremely adept at snatching and holding prey with their spined raptorial forelegs so it can't get away.  But C. humeralis are particularly impressive with their comparitavely massive and strong forearms (especially the tibia section).  They are like the body builders of the mantis world, lol.  I was never afraid in the least of handling any mantis until that gal got a hold of me and wouldn't let go.  She was like a pit bull and actually drew blood before I was able to get her dislodged.  It left an impression on me that made me extremely cautious handling adult females of this species forever after.

C. humeralis hatched ootheca with Drosophila melanogaster (wild-type, flying) for scale.


C. humeralis Stragglers at the end of a hatch partially stuck at various stages within or to the ooth (fatal, usually caused by lack of humidity or inability of last hatchlings to make it out before the ooth starts drying up).  The one on the left almost made it... but his rear legs somehow got stuck.  Trying to rescue by carefullest manually pulling on mantis or legs doesn't work, it just tears the nymphs apart... even if you try saturating the ooth or misting the nymphs in the hopes the moisture will eventually "unstick" them.  Crying or Very sad 


L1 C. humeralis nymph.  They are cute little buggars!



Juvenile ~L3 C. humeralis nymphs (siblings) in excelsior



Juvenile female ~L4/6 C. humeralis nymph



Juvenile male ~L5/6 C. humeralis nymph

Same, preening


Female sub-adult C. humeralis nymph


Enough for tonight... next post will be C. humeralis adults.
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