The journal couldn't fit any more words in it so here's Mantid Update part two! Lol.
Zeep molted and is now at L5, as well. I've been feeding them more than my Angustipennis when they were their age. I'm wondering if it'll make them bigger. My adult female Tenodera angustipennis, Gor-Tok, is 3 inches (legs not included) and that's as big as my first adult female Tenodera sinensis, Keek, was. The Angustipennis are smaller than the Sinensis and they were the same size at adulthood, oddly. I'm wondering if feeding these Sinensis nymphs more than I fed the Angustipennis would make them end up being larger, which would mean larger than 3 inches (legs not included). I'd love to have a real big Sinensis, I've seen photos of just how huge they can get.
The world's largest recorded mantis was found in Asia and was a Tenodera sinensis -- it was recorded as being 18 inches long!
I looked up "why were prehistoric insects so big?" and they said it's because the air wasn't as dense as there was more oxygen back then, so insects could keep growing and growing because there was enough oxygen to sustain their large forms. I think there's more oxygen in the rain forests of Asia too then and that's why insects there get to be so big, as well.
So I want to use that information to help mine grow bigger. I think I'll take them outside more and also add plants to their containers in between molts (I keep only a net at the top in the container when they're getting ready to molt to decrease the chances of mis-molts due to choosing too low a spot to molt from).
So that's more oxygen. I also think that Chinese Mantis could have gotten that big (18 inches) because it ate a lot -- but not only did it eat a lot, I think that also it didn't eat just other insects; I think it must have eaten birds, mice, frogs, toads, etc.
I ended up feeding my toad to Curious. She loved it. She ate all the skin and meat but left the bones. I found that interesting; I've never seen a mantid eat anything but insects, before. The fact that she left the bones gave me a feeling like she was eating a full-bodied raw-chicken. She's quite big right now, especially considering she's only at L5. I'm going to measure her later and compare it to Gor-Tok and Keek's size at L5, I think I have photos of both at L5 against a ruler.
And as for Gor-Tok and Morta... the other day, Morta was really trying pretty hard to mate with her. He jumped on her again and again and wouldn't let go for the life of him. But he kept going backwards! He was attracted to the smell she was releasing from her reproductive organs and he grabbed onto her wings and just stayed there, antennae going crazy as he tried to mate with her face. She ended up fighting with him a few times in irritation; the food didn't distract her from it, she just dropped it and then attacked him. I had to separate them a few times because she was literally trying to eat him. She grabbed his arms in one claw so he couldn't move them and grabbed his head with the other, and was getting ready to eat it right off from his eye inward. I put my fingers over Morta's head and held Gor-Tok back by her thorax and she just wasn't having it. She kept trying and trying and I couldn't hold her back any more I felt like I was going to squish her, but she was close to biting him as hard as I tried to keep them separated, so I was forced to literally grab her by her head. That ended up doing the trick, she was bothered by that and released Morta. Morta proceeded with pinching and biting me, thinking I was Gor-Tok, but then he suddenly relaxed. A few moments later, and he was crawling all over me. I woke up the next day though and saw that Gor-Tok had poked his eye and it's not blackened out! He can't see out of it. Poor guy.
If I hadn't been there, he definitely would have been eaten. Wow, I didn't think the mating process would be this difficult. After all Morta's effort, after losing sight in one eye, he still hasn't mated with her! I'm hesitant to try again at the moment, but I figure if I want eggs, it needs to happen sooner or later. Tenodera sinensis don't live forever, in the wild I think their lifespan is 6 months. I'll always be there to protect Morta, though -- I just hope he doesn't lose another eye, or a leg, or something that'll make it so he can't mate at all. I'll make sure he's not eaten but he could still end up losing something or getting wounded.
And Kent-Lok is now 11 months old! Holy ######! She's almost a year old! I had her for 8 months!!
Curious George molted yesterday and is now at L5! Wow! Growing up so fast! I decided that her first name is "Curious" and her last name is "George", lol. That way she has a less masculine name!
And Zeep is definitely male! Incredible how I ended up with a male and a female! I'll be breeding them, too.
Hol-Drauk was doing terribly. She ended up losing another leg on top of the others so basically had two arms. It was really terrible and sad to watch her try to get around. She wasn't moving much and when she tried she didn't get far. I ended up freezing her in some ice then feeding her to my other mantids. It's always very sad to lose a mantid especially when they were fine a week before. I HATE mis-molts.
But to look at the bright side, 2 out of 3 made it to adulthood and are healthy as can be. That's good, at least.
Turns out Curious George is positively female. I was right!
And I'm not positive yet but I'm pretty sure Zeep is male. Talk about fortunate. I'll breed them in the future.
Still waiting for Morta and Gor-Tok to do the deed! I've kept them in the same cage all day today. Fortunately it's a big cage and Morta is very cautious so he's safe. Incredible how he knows what to do. He's been literally jumping on her lately he's so eager. But he always ends up chickening out once she moves and freezes, lets her walk away so he's left there alone yet again. I feel bad for the little guy -- he really wants to get it on and Gor-Tok just ain't havin it!
Hol-Drauk molted into an adult this morning. I realized she was getting ready and I stayed up as long as I could, up to 4am, but I was too tired and ended up falling asleep. When I woke up, I was disappointed to see that she mis-molted terribly. I knew that might happen because she lost her back leg and they need that to properly hang upside down in the correct angle. Now her other back leg is ruined; its twisted to the point that she cant even use it. She's going to lose it, and will have no back legs. Then aside from her back legs, one of her front legs is bent in half and currently bleeding; she'll lose that, as well. So she'll have ONE working leg, aside from her arms. I feel so terrible, I wish I hadn't fallen asleep. It was really late though and I was exhausted. Then on top of the leg issue, her wings are completely deformed. They're not going over her back as they should be, but are spread out and getting in the way of her legs. I think I'm going to cut her wings off. And I'll test my artistic/creative ability and try to give her some hand-made legs in replacement. I'll see what I can do.
Aside from all these issues, I'm just glad she didn't die. And considering her condition, she's getting around okay, and is still pretty active. Now its time for me to get to work and try fixing her a bit.
I guess if I cant really help, it'll at least be easier for Morta to molt with her than Gor-Tok. But even then, would she be able to properly lay an ootheca?
Zeep molted last night so is now at L4 with Curious George.
Curious George ended up molting the night I mentioned s/he would. Zeep still hasn't molted, though, but will soon. And Hol-Drauk is very close. Her wings are swollen now and she looks shiny. She's been pulsing, as well. I'd give her a couple more days. Zeep, too, if s/he doesn't molt tonight.
Zeep and Curious George are getting ready to molt, again! They will be at L4 in 1-3 days, I'm predicting.
Curious George is green and Zeep seems to be getting some green, as well! Maybe both parents had been green?
And I am almost certain that Zeep is male and Curious George is female; let's see if I'm right about that (will be certain when they are at L6).
Lol, if Curious George is female, I'll mostly just call her "Curious". If male, I'll mostly just call him "George". I tend to shorten a long name by giving it nick-names.
Hol-Drauk is also getting ready to molt! Since she lost her back leg, she doesn't hold on well, since mantids can't use their arms to hold on their they're molting which gives them only four legs to hold on with. But she's missing a leg, so she's holding on with three, and sometimes she gets off balance and doesn't hold on with her other back leg, so she's holding on only with two. I definitely need to keep an eye on her. There's a chance she may fall or mis-molt due to this; I have to be sure to catch it if she does so I can put her back up with tape.
I woke up on the 17th and Arton had died. I mean, not being able to move, that's not exactly good for mantids. I didn't think it'd kill him/her outright. But I mean, mantids are supposed to be able to move. If they can't, what's the point of living. Maybe s/he was just still for so long that his/her body slowed down until s/he died. I'm not really sure. Maybe his/her body hadn't molted accurately, either, and so s/he wasn't able to breathe through his/her exoskeleton because the dead exoskeleton was still stuck to him/her.
So I fed his/her dead body to Curious George, who ate all of him/her. I don't like to feel that nothing good came from the death of a mantid. So, if the mantid didn't die of disease or infection, I feed it to another mantid. Then it gives that mantid a good and nutritious meal.
Last night Zeep's abdomen was pulsing so I provided humidity and when I woke up today, s/he had molted perfectly. So I now have 2 Tenodera sinensis at L3.
It seems Curious George will have tints of green, like Gor-Tok.
I got drunk last night (21 now) and woke up with a hangover and the sight of Arton stuck in his/her exoskeleton. Still alive but now has only 2 back legs instead of 4 AND the forearms are still covered in the exoskeleton, rendering them useless until his/her next molt. So s/he basically has 2 legs at the moment and its really hindering him/her. S/he can hardly walk. The only reason that I haven't squished him/her is because these issues can be rectified with molting... S/he's L3 now, by L4 s/he'll have his forearms back and will have 4 legs instead of 2. And since s/he's only L3, that means s/he has 4 more molts and may very well grow those legs back (even if they are a smaller version of the legs as in this photo:
www.benchruachran.org/blog/insects8/mantis1.jpg ). Just got to hand feed him/her for a while.
Then this morning after the incident with Arton, I checked on Curious George and saw that s/he was positioning him/herself for molting, then I saw his/her abdomen pulsing. Providing humidity pronto and s/he molted perfectly.
Morta molted last night and is now an adult, like Gor-Tok! Wow, this is the first time a male and a female of the same species both made it to adulthood... ever since I stopped feeding them crickets. It seems to have been the cause of the deaths all along. Why else would all my mantids be doing so good since I've fed them only flies? It's sad, really, that so many of mine died due to disease or infection from those filthy crickets. Some people are able to feed them to their mantids, but not me, apparently...! It must be the store I get them from.
Well, anyways, I've learned my lesson. No crickets. Only flies. SERIOUSLY.
Now I can finally breed my mantids! 3 weeks from now.
Arton and Zeep, the two other nymphs that had came from the wild ootheca I found in Cape Cod (like Curious George), also had their first molts. Same day. So now I have 3 Tenodera sinensis' at L2. They all molted perfectly with the way I've set it up for them.
Also, much to my surprise, Hol-Drauk molted today. I was expecting Morta to molt next, not her. One of her legs ended up being bent when I checked on her. I touched her foot and she made no reaction. Then I pinched her foot harder and harder and still made no reaction. So it had already lost feeling. I clipped the leg off just under the crack already there. No reaction, so no pain. I then dried the wound with green tea in water, it works quickly and stops the bleeding. I used it when Mostro's leg was bitten off by a cricket and was bleeding, too.
Morta's definitely going to molt next, though, into an adult with wings. And I'll finally be able to breed mantids like I'd always planned to.
Curious George had his/her first molt last night! Molted perfectly much to my pleasure. I misted before shutting the lights off and that seemed to do the trick.
And Gor-Tok, now that her exoskeleton has hardened, is a totally different color than she used to be! She's more green-brown than bright green. She's beautiful and healthy and colors I had never seen on a Tenodera before. She has a yellow underbelly, too, instead of orange like the brown Tenoderas.
Morta is getting ready to molt next! Then I'll have an adult male and an adult female. 3 weeks after Morta's last molt, I'll try to get them to mate -- which they most likely will, only, I have to keep an eye on the situation the entire time to ensure that Morta's head won't be eaten off. I'll probably feed Gor-Tok until Morta decides to get off her, meaning the deed has been done. It can take hours, I'll stay up during the night to make sure he's not eaten, 'cause he's just as important to me as Gor-Tok, I don't look at him like he's just an 'impregnator' (if that word can even be used for insects -- either way, you get what I'm saying).
And apparently I messed up on which stage Hol-Drauk was at. I fixed everything in my photos and updates since. But I'd thought she was at L7, and she's actually at L6, still. So Gor-Tok's an adult, Morta's at L7 and Hol-Drauk's at L6. Hol-Drauk was one of the two slowest molting nymphs I had out of about 100.
Gor-Tok had her last molt and is now an adult! Her wings are beautiful, green like her body, and now only the brown stripe on her thorax is visible (because the wings are hiding the rest of the line that goes down her abdomen) and now she looks just like a leaf with a brown stem at the end. Awesome! I took a bunch of photos, just need to upload, will probably do that tomorrow. Her body is 3 inches long, now, but with her legs included (and stretched out) she's 4 inches. A tiny bit smaller than Keek (Tenodera sinensis usually are bigger than angustipennis), but she's still quite big none-the-less.
Side note, there was mold growing on Drakon's (African Giant millipede) substrate so I had to throw it all out and buy him more. This time it shouldn't grow mold. I'm going to mist less to be sure. I also put some pill bugs in there so if mold does start to grow, they'll eat it.
I got my African Giant Black millipede today! He's AWESOME. He's 7 inches long current and is more active than I thought he'd be. He ate some banana so far, he seemed to want it more than the lettuce or carrots. He secreted some stuff on me which has given me some red patches on my skin, some in the shape of his legs, but it doesn't hurt or itch so I figure I'm alright, especially since I noticed it a couple hours ago, I figure if it was seriously effecting me I'd feel something by now. I will be sure to continue washing my hands after handling, though, to be safe.
And seeing how that's not a mantid update, let me add one -- I'm sending 50 nymphs to a guy as a trade for some fruit flies for the others. I only plan to keep 1 or 2, and release the rest. Not selling any this round.
Hol-Drauk molted into L6 Sunday and the Tenodera sinensis ootheca I found in Cape Cod hatched! The first batch came out Sunday morning and the second batch came out Tuesday morning. I've got around 200 nymphs! YES.
Morta molted last night and is now at L7. Before bed I saw that he was pulsing so I set up the top of his container so he could molt without falling (I put cardboard up there with a bunch of holes from a hole-puncher in it). I shut the light off, went to sleep, and when I woke up, he was bigger and his exuvia was on the floor of the container. So now I have two mantids at L7 (Gor-Tok and Morta) and one that's still at L5 (Hol-Drauk). And of course Kent-Lok's an adult but that's old news! My baby, 9 months old... next month she'll be 10 months! Wow! And her health hasn't waned even slightly, which I'm very happy about.
It's my birthday today. 21, now.
We just got back from the cape, went Friday til today (just came back around 6). We stayed at an awesome motel with the ocean in the back yard.
I caught crabs, snails, caterpillars and beetles. I found a tick, too, but I'm not a big fan. I saw 2 foxes and we went on a whale watch. I was planning to take many photos of the whales all weekend but right when I got on the boat my camera died. It sucked. The whales were great, though, very active and breeching quite a lot. Some got close, it was awesome. But just before the whale watch, I found some bushes, and started looking around. I always look for mantids, honestly. And much to my pleasure, I found a Tenodera sinensis ootheca. Right there on the bush in a parking lot. I was shocked. I was like, what are the odds? I don't find them walking through the woods by my house, but there's one right there in a parking lot next to the ocean? I was amazed. I'm not sure if it's fertile or not, but I guess we'll find out. I haven't taken photos yet but will soon.
I've been wicked sick so I haven't been submitting photos or updating this journal. But Gor-Tok molted at the end of April into L6. Then into L7 today (15th). Morta molted at the beginning of May into L6. And Hol-Drauk molted into L5 yesterday (05/14).
And Kent-Lok's 9 months old now. I got her when she was 3 months old, so I've had her for 6 months. That's the longest amount of time I've had a mantid, so far. That is quite a long time... half a year owning an insect.
I have so many photos on my camera that I need to submit. I've been feeling better so I'll be able to post more than I have been.
I sold the rest of the nymphs! And since my beautiful Idolos died... I decided to keep a third nymph. There was an odd number of nymphs so I had only one left and I decided I'd just keep her. I would have taken Zip back but I'd already sold him. I kept the only other green one -- I was hesitant to sell this one, honestly, because it was the only other green one, and I was going back and forth, thinking "I'll keep just 2", "I'll keep 3", "No, I'll keep 2", "No, I can handle 3". I even thought "I'll keep them all". LOL. This one is always behind the others on molting (even with other L4s, not just my L5s). Only one other nymph molted even later than this one -- that one just molted into L4 a few days ago. Has been sold since.
I use the money I make selling nymphs to buy anything invertebrate-related. More cages, fruit flies, blue bottle flies, house flies, oothecae, more mantids, a new invertebrate, etc.
So now I have:
Kent-Lok (adult female Phyllocrania paradoxa)
Gor-Tok (L5 female Tenodera angustipennis)
Morta (L5 male Tenodera angustipennis)
Hol-Drauk (L4 female Tenodera angustipennis)
"Hol-Drauk" means "small". I had one who mis-molted at L3 that I'd named "Ton-Drauk" which meant "big". But this one is the small one of the bunch rather than the big one. That title belongs to Gor-Tok. At least when it comes to this species... Kent-Lok's the biggest of all mantids as she's an adult.
In other news, I took Kent-Lok outside today. First I took Buddy (bearded dragon) outside. He ate some dandelion leaves and basked. Kent-Lok also did some basking. Then she jumped on me when I picked her back up, lol. Being in the heat makes her hyper.
I'm so disappointed. I realized yesterday that Magnifico started puking. And he died last night. His body literally curled into a ball and he died. It was as if he were literally poisoned. I ran out of flies so I was forced to give him a cricket leg. And it seemed right after that, he got sick. I'm so pissed. Not only is my pride bleeding, but now I have no Idolos. I should have listened to my own adivce and steered clear of the crickets. But it was all I had at the moment... I guess I shouldn't buy any more Idolos until I have enough money to be able to buy them flies as soon as they need them. All my other mantids are great so I assume that their death came about because they're a very sensitive species. I really couldn't feel worse about the situation. I thought the molting would be the #1 issue, not sickness... SIGH. A lot of my mantids seem to die of disease for some reason. What's wrong, here? Is it really the crickets, or is it the water I use? Have my Tenodera become immune to the bacteria in the water and the Idolos hadn't been able to fight it off?
Just wanted to say, I've got videos of all my mantids (and other pets/animals) on my YouTube channel, if you ever want to check them out.
I've got playlists for:
Drakon (male African Black Giant Millipede)
Majesty (female Stagmomantis limbata)
S.I.R. (female Stagmomantis limbata)
Kent-Lok (female Phyllocrania paradoxa)
Mostro (male Phyllocrania paradoxa)
Gor-Tok (female Tenodera angustipennis)
Morta (male Tenodera angustipennis)
Magnifico (Idolomantis diabolica)
Keek (female Tenodera sinensis)
Dakon (male Tenodera sinensis)
Wild Animals, Zoo animals, aquarium animals, feeders (invertebrates, amphibians, mammals, etc)
Blinx (female Maine coon)
And then, apart from animals, I have a few other playlists:
The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit
1.) Magnifico's doing great. S/he's eating well. Looking plump. S/he should be molting soon. Today s/he seemed to be more comfortable with me holding him/her than usual.
2.) Kent-Lok is doing great, too. She is also eating well. Her abdomen isn't too plump or too thin. I make sure she's in the middle, so she's not starving, but not over-eating. She definitely shouldn't be over fed as an adult female (I'm pretty sure that it can cause them to become egg-bound because the stomach is so large it's blocking all the eggs from being able to pass through the internal pathway to the exit).
3.) Morta molted! And he's now L5. And his 8 segments are clearly visible; there's no doubt he's male. Now that he's an L5, he really resembles Keek, and brought back some nice memories. He's a bit different in appearance, though, which makes him special in his own way. He has an orange dot on his chest instead of a yellow one, for one thing (seeing how he's a T. angustipennis rather than a T. sinensis). Also, his eyes have a different color when under the light. I've got photos to show them that I'll be submitting soon.
4.) Gor-Tok is doing well. It's more obvious to me now that she's female, since Morta molted to the same L-stage (5) and his segments are very clearly visible. So 8 for him, and 6 for Gor-Tok. A male and a female! I've got good feelings about them (I think they'll live a good while, probably going to be parents in the future).
5.) And someone told me what the "L" of the mantid's "L stage" stands for... "Larval". So the L stage is the "Larval Stage". He told me that once adult, they shouldn't be labeled as "L#" because they're adults, now, no longer going through the Larval stage. Good to know! I've got to edit a lot of photos of my adult mantids, now. I also still have to finish changing some 'Stagmomantis carolina' titles to 'Tenodera angustipennis' titles. It's a lot of work to edit so many submissions at a time on DA.
Well this morning I woke up to Lennot, one of my Idolomantis diabolica, on the floor of the container, lifeless. Dead. I hate when they die. But I'm just glad that Magnifico's healthy. I'm not sure what was wrong with Lennot. It would have been easier to diagnose him/her if s/he hadn't been puking the night I got him/her. If it was me, the only thing I can imagine it was is that she maybe got sick from the water? I have no idea. Either way, I popped the abdomen with a needle and pressed on it, and this black, watery stuff squirted out. It didn't look normal. It was like water with a bunch of black dots in it, making it appear to be dirty water. Maybe all those black dots were parasites? I'm not sure.
I'm trading my remaining T. angustipennis nymphs for an adult ghost male! So now I can get rid of the rest of the nymphs and be able to breed Kent-Lok! YES!
Also, about Lennot (my L2 Idolo)... when I first got her, in her container, I saw puke... and I thought it was from the house flies in there. But I realized she wasn't eating them. She only ate one the day I got her, after her trip. So the other day I tried hand-feeding her. And she can't keep anything up. Every time I try she immediately spits it out. So I realize that the puke's been hers all along... It's the same situation as Mostro. I can't tell why she would have puked the night I got her. Maybe being stuck in the container with the flies during the trip infected her? It did kind of smell bad. Or maybe she's not strong enough to drink the water I provide? I can't imagine what it is... ALL my mantids drink the same water, eat the same flies, and they're doing okay.
Either way, I'm not going to point any fingers. If it was me, it was me. If it wasn't, it wasn't. The outcome is the same. She's most likely not going to make it. But that's why it's good to get more than one, you know? Magnifico at least is doing great, always has been. Never found puke in his container. And he eats every day. Having one reach adulthood is good, better than none reaching adulthood. I'll probably get another in the future nonetheless.
#2... I decided to keep only 2 Tenodera angustipennis. So Gor-Tok and Morta. I have to let Zip go. I don't want to have too many mantids.
So now the list is...
Kent-Lok (Phyllocrania paradoxa)
Gor-Tok (Tenodera angustipennis)
Morta (Tenodera angustipennis)
Lennot (Idolomantis diabolica)
Magnifico (Idolomantis diabolica)
5 is good! Not too much, not too little.
. Becomes adult at L8.
. Females have shorter wings than males.
. Can range from green to brown.
. Usually around 2 inches long.
. Becomes adult at L8.
. Both females and males have long wings.
. Can range from full green to green and brown.
. Usually around 3 - 4 inches long.
. Becomes adult at L7.
. Both males and females have long wings.
. Can range from green to brown, can be black and brown, black and maroon.
. Can range from 1 1/2 - 2 inches long.
. Becomes adult at L8.
. Both males and females have long wings.
. Can range from full green to green and brown.
. Usually around 3 - 4 inches long.
Gor-Tok (E) molted! He's now an inch long, L4. Tenodera angustipennis. He looks like he's going to be green, for sure! Green T. angustipennis are more rare than the brown ones.
Kent-Lok has been jumping and flapping her wings a lot lately! I love it. Here's a video: [link] She did it like 6 times that day lol. Today she did it 4 times so far. http://e.deviantart.net/emoticons/w/winkrazz.gif
Morta also molted! Gor-Tok did it last night, 04/06/13, and Morta did it today, 04/07/13. Both have molted perfectly. I was there to catch both their molts. Got footage and photos of course. http://e.deviantart.net/emoticons/w/wink.gif
Kent-Lok molted on March 28th! DA wasn't working for me for a few days for some reason but it is, now, so I was able to post photos of the molting process. Now I'm ready to submit some of her adult form after she hardened up. She's a beauty! Unfortunately she lost a leg in the process. It had been 2 hours since I misted her and her cage had dried up and when I caught that she was trying to get out of her skin, I quickly provided moisture, and then she was able to molt, but just, yeah, she lost a leg in the process. But she can still hang upside down, and even jumped on me today, so she's fine, fortunately. I feel bad that she lost a leg, but I always try to look at the bright side of things, which is, she didn't get stuck in her skin and die. I provided humidity just in time to make it so she didn't get stuck, but did lose a leg.
Unfortunately, I checked on Ton-Drauk this morning, and saw that overnight, she tried molting, but ended up getting stuck in her skin. What causes this is lack of humidity. I would have given it if I knew she was ready to molt. It all must have started during the night when I was sleeping. She was the first one. Morta was the second one. And E was the third one. Now that I know they're getting ready to molt, I provide humidity each day. I feel bad for Ton-Drauk. She was cute. But because of her I knew to provide humidty for their molts so now the others won't end up like her.
Now I have Morta (L3), Zip (L2... He's male so he'll take longer to molt), and E (L3). I will name E Gor-Tok (means 'gorging'). I think E/Gor-Tok is female.
Kent-lok still hasn't molted. She's been showing signs for the past 7 days. She looks even more ready. I'd give her three more days. She looks bigger in size since yesterday. And her wings look like they are sponges soaked with water, even more than before, looks like they're gonna pop right out. I guess it WILL be closer to April!
An animation of Keek, my female Tenodera sinensis adult who died in January.
Kent-Lok had some hard feces the other day. And when it hit the paper towel, it soaked into it, and left a reddish brown color. Not a good sign. I think it's from going back to crickets now that I don't have any flies left. SO I switched up to giving her a million fruit flies instead of cricket legs/guts! And yesterday, her feces were back to normal, soft but not too soft, and didn't leave any reddish colors on the paper towel. So that leaves me to believe the crickets really aren't good this species. She LOVES fruit flies, though. I just have to feed her a lot of them before she's finished. I gave her, like, 20 yesterday.
She's still showing that she's going to molt, soon. I think it's just taking a little longer this time because I haven't been feeding her as much. Over-feeding isn't good for the mantid, and it makes them die sooner, as they reach adulthood quicker.
Well the 15th was when Kent-Lok molted last month, as I said. And she has been slower these past 2 days. Her wings also look bigger, swollen, which is a good sign she's ready. I thought it would be closer to April but I guess not. Everyone's noticing that she's slower and are saying she's dying, which I hope is not the case. Considering she's not acting weak, is just slow, and considering that it's that time of the month that she's probably just getting ready to molt. She's been hanging upside down, too, and her abdomen is pulsing in the way it does before she molts. I think it'll be anywhere between 1 - 5 days til she reaches adulthood and is beautiful and winged.
Also, I chose my 3 Tenodera angustipennis! I chose C, 10, and W. I'll give them names right now, and type them down here, that way I won't forget what they are.
C = Morta (means 'endearing' in the same alien-language Kent-Lok and Dakon's name came from)
W = Zip (because he's fast!)
10 = Tondrauk (means 'big' in the same alien-language Kent-Lok's name came from)
Last month, Kent-Lok molted on the 15th, so this month, I'm going to make sure I keep an eye on her, check for any signs of molting. She doesn't seem ready, I think for this last molt, it'll be closer to April. But that's just a thought, I don't have proof, so I must wait and see to be sure. I can't wait to see her as an adult!
And I added paper towel to the top of the lids so they're now able to molt without falling, which results in nymphs of perfect condition. I've got about 12 that have molted, now, only 3 or 4 with bent legs. And now the rest should come out without bent legs.
6 nymphs molted on the 9th, they're now L2s. Then 1 molted during the night, woke up on the 10th. Half molted perfectly, without issues. The other half fell during the process. Their bodies hardened so when I removed the rest of the exuvia, the legs were still soft, and turned out to be bent. But this can be fixed with molting. No parts are missing.
And I just wanted to say, Kent-Lok's 7 months old now! Breeder said she hatched in the beginning of September, and it's now March. I had her for less than 7 months though because I got her in November, when she was L3. She's now L6. So I had her for 4 months. I had Keek and Majesty for 5 months. But Keek died at 5 months old. Majesty died at 9 months.
Kent-Lok's going to be my longest living mantid so far. I can feel it.
I'm selling some nymphs! Here's the current option! ---> [link]
The other Tenodera angustipennis ootheca hatched! So many babies. I love them. I hand-feed them all. It takes all day to do it. No joke. But I don't have a job so I have the time to do it. And it keeps me occupied. Plus, I love mantids, they're #1 for me. And each nymph deserves a chance at living a nice life. Being fed, hydrated. Given warmth. Time to come out of their containers. The whole deal.
My friend who's got a degree in biology said Mostro most likely died of an internal parasite, what the with bulge. She said it could have also been a tumor, genetic, but I don't think that's it because he never had the bulge until recently, before he died.
I thought Mostro was doing better, but when I woke up today, he could hardly move. He was doing really bad, like 5%. He wouldn't drink. Wouldn't use his mouth at all. And wouldn't clean the food off his arms. He was too weak. Like I said, he could hardly move. And he looked a lot thinner than he did only yesterday... he must have puked a lot and it just was too much. He seemed to have an abnormal looking bulge on his abdomen.
He was hanging upside down previously, but fell down, and was face flat against the bottom of the container, his abdomen pulsing in an abnormal fashion. He would lay down in my hand, almost lifeless. So I took him outside and squished him with a rock to cease his suffering. I hate watching them suffer, and there was no point in letting him. He was definitely going to die.
It feels like a big loss at first but I'll get used to it after a while. Having other mantids always helps.
And it helps that one of the Tenodera angustipennis oothecae hatched today. I've got tons of nymphs. If anybody reads this and wants some, let me know. As soon as I get fruit flies through the mail I'll be able to send them off.
Mostro is doing much better. He can eat and drink now without puking, more often than not. He only puked once yesterday, compared to puking multiple times, especially after eating, and even simply drinking. There's definite improvement, and he's more active than he was before, also his abdomen is no longer pulsing in an abnormal fashion. I started giving him antibiotics, called Clavamox, which is for all different kinds of bacterial infections. After that, he started showing the improvement, so I definitely think it's related. After two doses, today, he's acting 85%. He was acting 35% previously.
This is the 6th day. I think he might make it through this. I figure he definitely would have died by now.
Mostro's abdomen is still wet and sticky. I took him out this morning, and he was still swaying/crawling/cleaning. I put him back in his cage, and a couple hours later, he was puking again. I didn't even feed him today. I only gave him water, which was bottled. Can he not keep anything up? Obviously something is wrong here... It seems like black death, only he still moves around, aside from being so weak he can't keep himself up. He pukes occasionally, it seems when he's given food or water. But he'll die without both, especially while he's sick, dehydrated from puking. He also doesn't smell badly, like my mantids who have had black death. Is he poisoned from the cricket food? If so, I hope I can help him get better... And I definitely am not letting him back in his cage, if it IS black death, and he some how got infected.
The last couple of days, I realized Mostro's entire abdomen had become wet and slimy looking. As days passed, it spread, reaching his back, his underbelly. I figured it was nothing, because he was acting normally, had regular feces (though was defecating more than usual).
But he didn't smell. Didn't act abnormally. Still eating, drinking.
But just a few moments ago, he was in the cage. He seemed fine at first, but suddenly he started breathing heavily. His abdomen was pulsing. This is abnormal behavior, their abdomens are only meant to pulse when they're very full, if they're getting ready to molt, or if they're really hot. None of which he was.
Then suddenly, he started puking. Of course, I obviously panicked, because puking is a very bad sign. And I remembered, Dakon/Sir/Majesty's puke smelled really bad when they were about to die, a specific smell, unforgettable. So I smelled his puke, but it didn't smell the same. It didn't even smell terrible - it smelled like the flucker's orange cube cricket diet. And I realized, I fed that to the super worms I've been giving them. Apparently, A BAD IDEA. Obviously he's not taking to that very well. Heck, it DOES smell like poison... crickets might be able to handle it, but mantids don't have the same diet, the citric acid might be bad for them.
So I now assume the stickiness on him is runny feces.
So right now, I took him out of his cage, put him in a separate container. Gave him fresh water, which he drank. Gave him some wax worm, to help push any remains of the Flucker's cricket food out by filling him up, having him defecate, get it out of him.
Right now, he seems better, at least for the moment. He's hanging upside down in his small container, placed next to he heat lamp, so he's nice and warm. He's swaying still, cleaning, reacting to movement. So question is, will he live through this? I'm hoping for the best.
MANTIDS ARE SO SENSITIVE!!
Kent-Lok molted today! She's now caught up with Mostro. And is way bigger than him, now.
I stayed up late last night, because I saw the signs that she was ready to molt, but I ended up going to sleep around 12. When I woke up, I saw she was much bigger and her exuvia (shed exoskeleton) was on the ground of her cage. I was disappointed that I wasn't able to get some photos, but extremely satisfied with her appearance, and especially pleased that she had no issues during the molting process.
And it was weird, but I noticed something about my mantids. First, let me explain, that at about L4 Kent-Lok lost a bit of her walking appendage (the one connected to her raptor, left side). And after molting, it's longer, and the part that grew back is white in color, while the rest of it is black in color, as it's supposed to be. I'm wondering if it's white because it's new, and it'll take longer to harden and dry up? Or if it'll stay white? I don't think it'll stay white, but I guess we'll see.
Then also, on Mostro, I realized after molting, a bit of his leg grew back, but hardly at all. And today, I realized, there's a white bit that's on his leg, too, that I hadn't previously seen. I'm wondering if it was there after his molt, and I just didn't realize, or if it's still growing back, even though he's already molted? I look at my mantids often, and take close-up photos, so I'm thinking I would have noticed if it were there, previously. But who knows? Can only wait and see.
Well anyways, I'll be taking photos of Kent-Lok now that she's molted. And I figure, it's not so bad that I didn't get any photos of the molting process, because I got PLENTY of Mostro during his molt. Enough to make up for not catching Kent-Lok's.
I forgot to update the information of my Phyllocrania paradoxa. They did end up being L3 when I got them, as I previously predicted. They are now L5 (female, Kent-Lok, close to molting) and L6 (male, Mostro, recently molted). Supposedly they molt 7 times, so Mostro has one left until adulthood and Kent-Lok has two.
Mostro molted last night on the 8th of February. I got plenty of photos, you can find them in my gallery. He's now L6, and has one molt left until he has his wings and is an adult. He's about and inch and a half. A tiny bit of his leg grew back but not enough for it to even reach the ground. I'm afraid he won't be molting enough times from here til adulthood for it to grow back entirely, or even half way. But he's functioning fine, as if he's not missing a leg at all. He stands up straight, tall, is active, not at all disabled. I find it amazing because when it first happened, he was wobbling, disoriented, tried cleaning his leg as if it were still there, tried reaching branches with it as if it were still there (I could tell because there was a small stub left of his leg and it was wiggling when he tried to clean/climb). But eventually he LEARNED that it's gone, and was able to walk again, overcompensates with his other legs, and now doesn't try to clean that missing leg. It's amazing how they can LEARN like that, that's intelligence to be able to adapt like that and so quickly.
PHOTOS OF MY MANTIDS (FROM WHEN I GOT THEM TO THE STAGE THEY DIED AT OR THEIR CURRENT STAGE):
STAGMOMANTIS LIMBATA (SIR AND MAJESTY, FEMALE)
SIR (SILVIA IRWIN REYNOLDS)
WHEN I GOT HER (MAY, L4): http://th01.deviantart.net/fs71/150/f/2012/282/5/5/s_i_r__stage_l2_by_alexandersmantids-d5hbhnl.jpg
STAGE SHE DIED AT (JULY, L6): http://th06.deviantart.net/fs71/150/f/2012/330/9/e/sir__stagmomantis_limbata__female_by_alexandersmantids-d5ma83g.jpg
WHEN I GOT HER (MAY, L5): http://th01.deviantart.net/fs70/150/i/2012/282/1/e/majesty_stage_l3_by_alexandersmantids-d5hbgsq.jpg
TENODERA SINENSIS (DAKON AND KEEK, MALE AND FEMALE)
DAKON (ALIEN NAME)
WHEN HE HATCHED (SEPTEMBER, L1): http://th04.deviantart.net/fs70/150/f/2012/282/4/8/tenodera_sinensis_nymph_by_alexandersmantids-d5hbk38.jpg
STAGE HE DIED AT (NOVEMBER, L4): http://th04.deviantart.net/fs70/150/i/2012/320/a/1/l4_tenodera_sinensis_dakon_by_alexandersmantids-d5l7a63.jpg
KEEK (PET ALIEN NAME)
WHEN SHE HATCHED (SEPTEMBER, L1): http://th00.deviantart.net/fs71/150/f/2012/282/5/3/tenodera_sinensis_eating_a_flightless_fruit_fly_by_alexandersmantids-d5hbkml.jpg
STAGE SHE DIED AT (JANUARY, L8): http://th05.deviantart.net/fs70/150/i/2013/012/b/2/keek_tenodera_sinensis_female_adult_by_alexandersmantids-d5rabam.jpg
PHYLLOCRANIA PARADOXA (MOSTRO AND KENT-LOK, MALE AND FEMALE)
MOSTRO (ITALIAN FOR 'MONSTER')
CURRENT - STILL ALIVE (JANUARY, L5): http://th05.deviantart.net/fs70/150/f/2013/023/c/4/mostro__ghost_mantid__l5__male_by_alexandersmantids-d5siblq.jpg
KENT-LOK (ROYAL ALIEN NAME)
WHEN I GOT HER (NOVEMBER, L3): http://th02.deviantart.net/fs71/150/i/2012/342/e/e/female__kent_lok__phyllocrania_paradoxa_by_alexandersmantids-d5nfmjo.jpg
CURRENT - STILL ALIVE (JANUARY, L5): http://th03.deviantart.net/fs70/150/f/2013/022/4/8/kent_lok__ghost_mantid__female__l5_by_alexandersmantids-d5se2ur.jpg
That's it, so far. As a side note, Mostro's leg got bitten by a cricket and it ended up coming off. I figure that's what happened because he caught a cricket, was eating it, then I left, and when I came back, he was no longer eating the cricket and his leg wasn't working/was bleeding. I held onto it to see if he could feel it, and apparently didn't, because he walked away and it pulled off.
I'm buying them wax worms instead from now on, especially if crickets are able to cause that much damage (was doing it to decrease chances of disease, but if they can plain bite their legs to the point they lose them, then it's definitely a good idea to go for worms instead for that reason as well). Too bad I wasn't able to get the wax worms earlier, he'd still have his leg. He's functioning fine, though, so I'm not worried. Just feel bad it happened. 'Cause in the end, whatever happens to your pet is your fault.
Two days ago, Keek became weak and could hardly hold herself up. I realized she was getting ready to die. The last thing she did healthy and lively was catch and eat a cricket. It makes me think it had to have been the cricket that killed her - it must have been diseased. She was fine up until she ate it.
These two days later, and Keek is now deceased. By the end of the day she was pinching me but could hardly move otherwise. Her antennae and her mouth weren't reacting to anything, a good sign the mantid's dying. There was also discoloration on her abdomen, near her anus. It was swollen and had a reddish spot on it. She wasn't puking and didn't smell, it didn't seem to be black death, but I certainly think it was some bacteria from the cricket she ate that got her. I ended up putting her in the snow so she wouldn't have to suffer (she let me know she was in pain by pinching me repeatedly - they blame their external surroundings for their internal pain, my other mantid did the same thing when she was dying). She hardly reacted to being put in the snow, even, so she was certainly ready to go. It was extremely sudden, I hadn't at all expected her to die so soon. I'm irritated that all my mantids seem to die of disease. What the heck, I can't even trust their food to be free of disease?
Keek molted on the 5th, the exact day of the month she molted last month. She is now an adult and has her wings. Her wings have darkened after these few days and look nice, with the mint green line across them that the Tenodera sinensis gets.
Then Mostro molted on the 6th, before Kent-Lok which I found interesting considering he's male and she's female. She then molted last night on the 7th, and is bigger than him now.
I was researching and insects such as mantids have hearts, different hearts from humans but still hearts. They breathe through openings in their exoskeleton that goes through their bodies, so they breathe like us, too. They also have brains, which are placed in their heads.
(Something that also interested me, mantids go through what's called 'incomplete metamorphisis'. It's incomplete because 'complete metamorphisis' has an additional stage, the 'pupa' stage, which mantids don't go through. Insects that go through incomplete metamorphisis look the same at all stages only lack their wings until they reach adulthood.)
It's a question whether invertebrates feel pain, I think the answer is simple, yes. I think pain is worse for humans because we analyze it, which in turn can increase the pain as our minds are focused on it, which animals don't do. Animals feel, just not in the same way. Why would they panic or scream when being eaten/threatened if they weren't in pain?
Keek is closer to 3 inches, now. She's more than 2 1/2 inches after eating. She still has to fill her abdomen up half-way before she'll molt, since she's only half-full. So by L8, she'll actually end up being closer to 4 inches once she's eaten til full. And legs included, she'll be closer to 5, though you're not supposed to count the legs when measuring insects.
Keek is 2 1/2 inches long, now. They say the Tenodera sinensis gets 4-5 inches long, but it seems Keek might get to be about 3 inches, considering she has only one molt left until she reaches adulthood. I was hoping she'd be bigger, but in the end, size doesn't matter. She's beautiful, none-the-less. Also, she will be the biggest mantid I've owned, though. Majesty was 2 1/2 inches at adulthood, and Keek has one more molt, so she'll obviously be bigger. I'm excited to see her with her wings, should be by the beginning of January.
Keek molted again! She's now L7, and she does indeed have one more molt until she reaches adulthood. She's bigger than Majesty was, now, by quite a bit. She looks to be 3 inches, maybe a little more. I can't wait until she hardens up so I can hold her, already. I haven't been able to hold her for a few days. I don't risk holding her when she's getting ready to molt (plus she's so slow I can hardly even get her to go in my hand). Once I measure her, I'll put down how big she is.
Both my Phyllocrania paradoxa molted. The female, Kent-Lok, molted on the 11th. And the male, Mostro, molted on the 13th. They're pretty much on the same molting schedule. I made a list according to how many times, and when, the Phyllocrania paradoxa molts, and according to that list, they're L5s, now, and were L4s when I got them.
And Keek has been eating non-stop. Pinhead cricket after pinhead cricket after pinhead cricket. She's only 3/4s full, now, and she won't eat past that point, currently. It went down a little the next day and she ate until it went back to 3/4s. I think she's not eating past that point, because once they reach that point, they're going to molt, and it's too soon for her, right now.
I measured Keek yesterday (but before she ate - she's even bigger now), and she was exactly two inches long. Just a little bit smaller than Majesty. She grew a lot in one molt.
Still, even after becoming L5, Keek molts once every two weeks. Aka, twice a month. Majesty only molted once a month. Keek molted from L5 to L6, today. The Tenodera sinensis should either become adult at L7 or L8. I think L8 for Keek as she doesn't seem to be only one stage away from being 4-5 inches. I haven't yet measured her as she's in the process of hardening, but once she's ready, I'll be doing it. I would guess she's a little smaller than Majesty was as an adult (longer, I mean, though her head is smaller). I've got a feeling her designs are really going to stand out once she dries up - even right after molting, I could see bright red marks on her chest. It's awesome to watch them molt, it's crazy stuff.
Well Keek is filled with cricket so she should be molting soon. I realized they molt once their stomachs/abdomens become entirely full. I can see through her so I can see how much is inside her. Now it's all the way. This must be why they don't eat before molting - they can't, they'll straight-out explode.
Also, the breeder I bought the Phyllocrania paradoxa from said they're either L4 or L5, not L3. So I'll be updating that information in the titles and under the photos some time.
My mantids are doing great currently. Keek caught her first full cricket, meaning it had the back legs, too. I took those off for her first cricket. She ate the whole thing aside from the legs. I fed the legs to Kent-Lok and Mostro. They now are given only distilled water and I mist them out of their containers so they don't get too wet and humid. I plan only to provide humidity when they're close to molting.
After eating the cricket, Keek is 1.10 inches rather than 1.08. Her abdomen is 3/4ths full so she should be molting within the week. Which makes sense because she molted on the 7th this month, and its close to the 7th of the next month.
This afternoon, Dakon was weak and not able to hang upside down, kept falling. This is a sign that they're going to die, because mantids don't fall when molting (plus it was too soon for him to molt anyways). Days before, I mentioned he was puking and that it smelled the way S.I.R. and Majesty did when/before they died. And indeed, Dakon was harder when I went to check on him this afternoon. And when he fell, he just stayed there, didn't bother trying to get up. Only his mouth and antennae were moving; and still the antennae were moving very slowly.
I was going to wait for him to die, so I wouldn't be a part of it, but I felt that it'd be better of me to end his suffering rather than wait for his death. I feel he was probably in pain, with the way he was puking, and I imagine he must have been frightened what with not being able to move his body (not frightened in the way a human would be, but an insect). So I fed him to Lucifer, my bearded dragon, who did enjoy it. That's quite the instant death. It only took him three chomps before swallowing.
After eating, Keek is now 1.8 inches long, exactly an inch and a half.
And Dakon doesn't seem to be doing well, unfortunately. This morning he was laying down, at the bottom of his container. Even when I poked him, he didn't have much of a reaction, and his feet aren't sticking to things very well. He just molted on the 14th, but he may be ready, again. I hope that's the case, but considering the fact that he was puking the other day makes me uneasy. He did eat a little bit yesterday and he drank a ton, though. He kept throwing his food, maybe he is ready to molt. Or maybe he's just sick and doesn't want to eat.
Keek molted from L4 to L5 today. She's now 1.5" long! She's got 3 molts left to go until she reaches adult hood.
Dakon keeps throwing up and it smells really bad, like S.I.R. and Majesty did when they died. I hope Dakon will be alright. He ate and drank today and he seems to be better. He's still active so I think he might be alright. I guess we'll see.
Keek is female, after all. I realized why I had a hard time telling. I was looking at the abdomen from the side. From the side, the 6th segment of the female still has two bumps, as if there are 8 segments. But if you look at the underside of the abdomen, straight on, you can see that the bumps on the 6th segment don't meet in the middle and make a segment. There are only bumps, no actual lines of segments. I KNEW she wasn't male.
Here's a drawing I made describing what I saw: [link]
And Dakon, he's gotta be male - still acting and eating like one AKA not NEARLY as much as Keek. He'll eat a third of a cricket's leg, she'll eat half the cricket, itself. Lol.
Dakon molted yesterday, so he's now L4, as well. His claws weren't able to pinch as he was L3 because his arms didn't molt with the rest of the body and they hardened up. But now he can move and use them, and was able to hold onto his food today rather than me holding it there for him. I'm glad the situation has been rectified.
Also, I got my two Phyllocrania paradoxa in the mail, today. I think they're L3s. They're awesome! They already ate and have been hydrated, now they're in my bearded dragon's old cage soaking up some heat. They sway so intensely!
Keek seems to have 8 segments, but personality-wise, it seems to be female. It eats a lot. Way more than Dakon. And Keek molted quite a while before Dakon (he hasn't even done it, yet, and Keek did on the 7th). Everything's pointing to female, aside from the segments... perhaps the segments have not yet merged into one big one. I thought S.I.R. was male for a while too because she appeared to have 8 segments, until she molted into L6, where I saw that they'd merged.
I guess we'll have to wait and see. For now, I'm calling Keek female, though she could be either. Once I figure it out, I'll change the information under his/her photos.
Keek seems to be male, as well. I'm not positive because it's harder to see the segments on Keek because s/he's lighter than Dakon. But I'm pretty sure there are 8 segments on Keek, as well.
TENODERA SINENSIS UPDATE (as of 11/07/2012)
Age> 3 Months (hatched September 7th)
Sex> Male ?
L Stage> 4 of 6/8
Age> 3 Months (hatched September 7th)
L stage> 3 of 6/8
Okay so the Tenodera Sinensis nymphs I have are molting. I can tell which ones are going to molt first because they're bigger than the others. So far the four big ones molted. Unfortunately, one ended up falling to the bottom during the process and died. So now I only have 4 mantids to sell. So that's 2 people. Was expecting a lot more than that but oh well. I only got the ootheca in the first place so I could experience them hatching and keep two for myself. Selling the rest was just my plan because I couldn't keep them all.
So now I have 6 nymphs. 2 are mine, so that leaves 4. And 2 go to each person, so I'll be able to sell them to 2 people only.
So right now I have 3 stage L2s and 3 who still haven't molted.
But not counting the mantids I'm keeping, I have 1 stage L2 and 3 who haven't molted.
Also I'm getting 2 Ghost nymphs from somebody om MantidForum. Majesty's huge container is now empty so they'll go in there. Don't have to divide it until they become adults, and only if they're of the opposite sex.
So once I sell the 4, I'll have 4 mantids for myself.
I wanted 2 of each genus so that in case one dies, I'll still have one of each genus. Meaning I'd have 1 Phyllocrania paradoxa and 1 Tenodera Sinensis.PREVIOUS (10/04/12)
Majesty died I took her out of her container and she was hard. Rigor mortise. she was still slightly alive. She pinched me for no reason. I think its because she was in pain. Then she puked and it smelled really bad and she hardened the rest of the way then died. Her antennae stopped moving.
I know I'll feel better soon though, I just need to get used to what happened. And look at the positive. Like she was an awesome pet. And that I at least have nymphs.
I don't know why she died she was only 9 months old and she didn't even lay an ootheca.
It almost seemed like