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Showing content with the highest reputation since 09/13/2011 in Posts

  1. 14 points
    Introduction Hymenopus coronatus, Orchid Mantis The nymphs are spectacular mimics of orchid flowers and look very much like a tiny version of the popular moth orchid flowers seen at various stores. Southeast Asia, most common stock from Malaysia. Difficulty level: intermediate Development Molts take place about every three weeks until the ultimate molt which can take twice as long. Hatchlings are red and black and may mimic certain assassin bugs. Later instars to adult are white to pink. Adults live from three to six months, rarely much longer. Molting rarely encounters problems in captivity despite the leg extensions. Behavior/temperament Nymphs usually stay in one spot to catch prey but will chase after crickets if hungry enough. Neither timid nor aggressive. Propensity to cannibalize is limited; not communal. Dynamics of threat display - none. Captive Environment Temperature range and humidity levels - room temperature to tropical (72-90F). High humidity without adequate ventilation will kill specimens. Type and size of enclosure(s) used - absolute minimum 32oz. for the large females. Substrate or lack thereof- none required. Cage furnishings, e.g. molting surfaces, perches, décor, plants, etc. -may shield prey, not needed. Communal housing if applicable - not a good idea. Feeding Feeding response - moths and flies are most attractive. Type and size of prey used and/or refused for various instars - fruit flies for the early instars, then crickets, cockroaches and flies. Quantity and frequency of feedings - late instar female nymphs can consume large quantities of prey daily. Breeding Sexing/sexual dimorphism - females look similar to the males but are a dozen times more massive. Time needed from last molt to copulation - 3-4 wks. Multiple males are suggested for mating. While rearing up nymphs is basic for anyone with limited experience, getting fertile eggs is expert level. Tips for inducing copulation and fecundity - Multiple males in a flight cage and warm temperatures. Fertile or not there are generally three oothecae per female. Tips for inducing female to lay oothecae - green/living plant leaves. Oothecae Physical description and average size. - thin and elongate, up to four inches long and a quarter inch wide. Diapause if necessary - none. Incubation time and temperature - approximately 40 days at 80F. Observed number/s and range of hatching nymphs - highly variable, avg. ~40
  2. 12 points
    Tenodera sinensis (Chinese Mantis) Introduction When asked to envision the stereotypical praying mantis, many Americans conjure up the image of Tenodera sinensis. Along with cousin, T. augustipennis, it's known also as the Chinese mantis. Impressive size coupled with commonness—at least in the eastern half of the US—have influenced this standing. Yet for a child, common doesn't necessarily equate to run of the mill, and such insects are prized for their otherworldly appearance, fascinating behavior, and endearing mannerisms. As the common name implies, the Chinese mantis will always be alien to some extent, for it originated in the far east. Nevertheless, after a hundred years post introduction, it remains touted as an effective means of pest control and now more importantly, an alternative to chemicals(insecticides). Popular amongst gardeners, the oothecae abound just about everywhere—inexpensively sold in local shops and on the internet. All considered, one is subsequently left with little question as to how and why the Chinese mantis has been capturing American affections since the late 1800's. T. sinensis comes in green, brown, or a combination thereof and blends in very well with its surroundings. Even in brown form, the color green runs the length of the fore-wings' outer edge. A series of vertical stripes/ridges compliment the face. On the ventral thorax, a yellow spot can be discerned between the front legs, and a threat display will reveal a dark set of hind wings. The females measure about four inches. Of considerably less mass, the males are also about a half an inch shorter. Success in the wild does not guarantee the hobbyist with success in captivity. While later instars and adults may be comparatively easy, raising the smaller nymphs can be downright tough—with many nymphs dying from mismolt or no ostensible reason at all. Difficulty level: Intermediate. Development As with all mantids, insects, etc., temperature and feeding greatly influence development. Under the conditions herein, T. sinensis reaches adulthood in approximately four months, and early instars are achieved in just under two weeks. Later instars take a bit longer. An individual molts roughly seven times. Females may have an extra molt. Lapses in observation and note-taking are responsible for the aforementioned uncertainty. T. sinensis usually lives for eight months to a year. Upon reaching adulthood, females can live another six months. Males, however, live only two to three months as adults. Behavior/temperament Individual temperament proves highly variable. Meek exist and so do the audacious. A behavioral spectrum resides between these two extremes. Cannibalism constitutes a real concern and precludes communal housing beyond early instars. Camouflage is the first line of defense, but when a Chinese mantis—like many other mantids—is detected and confrontation unavoidable, a different strategy may be employed. It's called a threat or diematic display. The startled mantis tries to make itself look larger and more threatening than it actually is. Forelegs are held up against the head and prothorax. Mouth may be held agape to show red innards. Black hindwings are unfurled and prominently displayed. Pushed to the limit, such a defensive mantis may then go on the offensive—striking and biting. Individual propensity for diematic display varies like/with temperament. Captive Environment Conditions in which the T. sinensis observed for this care sheet were kept: Temperature: average of 75 degrees F. During the colder months, night time temperatures did occasionally drop to 68 degrees F. However, prolonged drops below 70 degrees F, should be avoided. A space heater remedied the situation. Humidity: average of 50%. Misting: twice daily with tap water—in this locality, works just fine. Communality: as nymphs mature, their appetite for one another also grows. Early separation is recommended. If you must keep together, ample space and a constant supply of food should go a long way in reducing causalities of cannibalism. Housing: it's easiest to house numerous individuals in spartan plastic cups with paper towel for substrate or no substrate at all. As the nymphs grow, replace the cup with a size larger and so on. Critter-keepers(8” x 6”) adequately house subadults and adults, but larger enclosures—like aquariums and net cages—are considered more ideal by some. Enhancements for critter-keepers include glue gun affixed popsickle sticks and fake plants/flowers. These additions provide perches and more stable footholds. The ultimate enclosure may even be none at all. Free range is a very real possibility, and aside from the outdoors, may even be mantis heaven. The authors remaining female T. sinensis (others released) enjoys the run of the bug room/guest bedroom; favorite hangout spots consist of the curtains and the aloe plant. The aloe plant is misted everyday, and roaches are given to her with hemostats. Feeding response Feeding response can be viewed as function of temperament. While hunger undoubtedly factors into the equation, even when fed similarly, individual feeding response still appears to fluctuate a great deal. While some are more proactive in the capture of prey, others adopt more of the sit and wait ambush style and prefer smaller prey items. Conversely, there are reports and media of bold and hungry T. sinensis tackling ridiculously large, non-insect prey such as small rodents and hummingbirds. Type of prey used: D. hydei(fruitflys), A. domestica(crickets), stable flies, blue bottle flies, B. dubia(Guyana spotted roach), N. cinerea(lobster roach), and the occasional katydid, grasshopper, or moth collected outside. Frequency: everyother day. Quantity and size: feed til full, e.g., multiple fruit flies per small nymph or mature dubia roach for adult female. Prey items are sometimes leftover between feedings, and while roaches and flies don't seem to pose a threat, crickets should definitely be removed. Breeding Sexual dimorphism exists. As mentioned earlier, there is a disparity in adult size. In a side by side comparison of adults, there really is no mistaking one sex for the other. Females are significantly larger—in length and girth. Later instar nymphs and adults may also be sexed by counting abdominal segments(males have eight, females six)or by noting the size of the last segment(much wider in females; segments should be viewed ventrally. Time needed from female's last molt to copulation: 3 weeks to a month. Presumably, the adult male is ready sooner. Now for the Fabio romance story: “Under initial close supervision, breeding took place outside of an enclosure but inside a room with the door closed. The female was occupied with the meal of a cricket. The male was placed just behind her. He immediately took notice and froze, gazing intently at female. As if in slow motion, he gingerly made his advance. Then, there came the point of no return, when he “pounced”, securing himself to the female with his forelegs. The pair was watched until connection was made. At that point, the lights were turned off, and they were left to their own devices. The next morning the female was in the same place. However, the male was found clear across the room. During the second mating, the male was physically placed onto the female. Also, when things went awry, a bamboo skewer proved useful in separating the quarreling couple.” Log: 5-22-13: Female molted to adult. 6-14-13: Mated. ?: Mated again. 7-20-13: First ooth laid. 8-30-13: First ooth hatched *Failed breeding attempts were not recorded, but there were one or two. Oothecae (Egg Cases) Described as tan, globular masses, oothecae have sometimes been liken to misshapen ping-pong balls(W. Harrell) or clumps of spray foam insulation(O. McMonigle). At eye level or thereabout, they can be found affixed to the thin branches of overgrown shrubs and small pines. Multiple oothecae are laid, and if conditions are right, they'll usually hatch somewhere between fifty and three hundred nymphs in 4-6 weeks. Although it's considered the norm, nymphs may not come all at once. Some have reported nymphs emerging gradually or an ooth hatching half and half during the course of a week. Diapause is not necessary, but refrigeration can prove useful in delaying the hatch. While in the refrigerator, one must take care to prevent the egg case/s from drying out. Optional (Health Concerns) A small number of nymphs suffer from a floppy abdomen. The abdomen literally folds and forms a crease. Presumed to be caused by the perpetual act of hanging upside down, it can prove fatal. Reorienting the enclosure so that the mantis is not always inverted may fix the condition. ootheca: (photo: jamurfjr) hatch: (photo: jamurfjr) L4 nymph: (photo: jamurfjr) adult male: (photo: jamurfjr) adult female: (photo: jamurfjr) Contributors: jamurfjr
  3. 12 points
    Phyllocrania paradoxa (Ghost Mantis) Introduction: The world famous ghost mantis, an extremely popular and easy species to rear, is talked about on an hourly basis on the forums. Ghost mantises are a decent size, extremely hardy, long lived, and tolerant of almost any conditions, not to mention they come in a range of colors, from all shades of brown to yellow, black, gray, greens and even mixes. Ghost mantises are very easy to rear and very attractive.(agent A) The genus name means "leaf head", and the head is outfitted with a twisted, leaf-like projection on top. The walking legs also have smaller, leaf-like lobes and the abdomen has a pair of flat, ragged extensions on each side. This may be the only species that's magnificent and always commands interest but is also easy (other mantids tend to be either uniquely amazing to look at or easy to keep).(Orin) Native range: Africa. Difficulty level: beginner. Development: Ghost mantises are slow growers at any temperature, though the time it takes from L1-L4 is relatively normal, L5 to adulthood is a long waiting game.(agent A) I must say right off the bat that males and females molt the SAME number of times. Don't let anyone tell you the females have an extra molt; they DONT! They BOTH molt SEVEN times.(agent A) The molt from L1 to L2 takes only about two weeks, and L2 to L3 is just a few days longer. L3 to L4 is less than 3 weeks, but then L4 to L5 takes up to a month. L5 to L6 is at least five weeks. L6 to L7 (sub adult for BOTH instars) is a bit longer, and they can spend 2-3 months in the sub adult stage, and surprisingly males can take longer than females to reach adulthood. (agent A) This mantis grows slowly, and lives longer than most species. As newly hatched nymphs, and for the first few molts, they eat and grow normally. However, as each successive molt occurs the interval between molts gets longer and longer, with the stage prior to the final molt taking up to two months. Limited food or care could easily stretch development far past a year, but five months is normal with adequate care.(Orin) Behavior/temperament: Degree of activityDegree of aggression or timidityPropensity to cannibalizeDynamics of threat displayCaptive Environment This species can tolerate temperatures between 65 and 85 degrees and can accept a wide range of humidity: from as low as 40% to as high as 70%. You can keep huge groups in terrariums or net cages with real or fake plants with little fear of cannibalism, or you can keep them in deli cups with a fake leaf and a paper towel on the bottom, or anything in between. So long as they can grip, climb, and walk, they are good.(agent A) Once they have molted a few times, they do not need much water or humidity, and only require a light misting two to three times a week. Phyllocrania paradoxa seldom kill each other after the third molt. They are often kept together long-term but females do eat males.(Orin) Feeding Nymphs can be tricky to feed, as they may not go after crawling food. L1 and L2 will eat hydei; L3 and L4 will eat houseflies (though L4 will also eat bottleflies), and after this, bottleflies are a good food for nymphs. They also appreciate moths, roaches, and crickets. Nymphs can go a long time without food, I've had nymphs (unintentionally) go 5 weeks without food and survive; though if a nymph hasn't eaten in a while, it is not advisable to just load it up with food (it wont be able to digest it all, possibly resulting in death). Instead, fill it back up slowly for 2 weeks before getting it real fat again (this goes for ANY animal btw).(agent A) Ghost mantids prefer to eat food a quarter of their mass or less. They are hearty feeders but prefer to stay on a fixed perch which should be positioned so food comes nearby. They rarely chase after prey unless it is less than an inch away (glass climbing roach nymphs are a favorite food).(Orin) Breeding The males are easily identified after two molts because the expansion of the male's prothorax is much smaller and the leaf on the head is pinched in the middle. Both genders are about two inches long when fully grown but the female is much more massive. Her tegmina look like dried brown leaves complete with veins while the male's tegmina look more like the hindwings and give him an odd, rectangular shape.(Orin) Sexing can be done as early as L4 by looking at the head crown. Males have a tall, jagged crown, while females have a forked and structured, symmetrical head crown. And as nymphs get older, males will have a narrower range of colors(mainly blacks and grays), while females take on browns and greens.(agent A) Surprisingly, males can take longer than females to reach adulthood. Fortunately, they are quick to breed. These are an extremely prolific species. Both sexes can be ready to mate as early as 2 weeks into adulthood, but I wait 3 weeks to be safe.(agent A) Males barely eat (don't be surprised if during his adult life, a male only eats one bottlefly) but are active and fly readily. Females eat a lot, and should be nice and well fed before mating. You don't usually have to worry about females attacking the males, especially if she is well fed. A good way to breed them is to have the males in a warm, humid cage (80oz cup with wet paper towel under a heat lamp works fine) and let them warm for two days or so; then in the evening put in a female or two, and usually you will wake up to a connected pair. They stay connected for 2-8 hours, and females will lay ooths frequently. Try not to keep females too warm after mating, since they have a habit of laying small ooths every few days rather than long ones every week and a half.(agent A) Oothecae: Giving them fake plants to lay on also helps increase ooth length. Ooths can be incubated at room temp with twice weekly misting. Hatching occurs 6-10 weeks later, with 20-60 nymphs resulting. Females can lay well over 12 ooths in their lifetime.(agent A) They prefer to construct oothecae on sticks a quarter inch or less in diameter. Oothecae are similar in shape and size to Creobroter oothecae, but the surface is smooth and glossy and there is a long thread-like extension at one end.(Orin) Optional Health Issues: infections or illnesses encountered.Additional Observations: pertinent information which doesn't neatly fit anywhere else.Photos: up to five may be posted at the bottom of the completed template. Please limit these photos to no more than one of an ootheca, two of nymphs(different instars), one of an adult female, and one of an adult male. (photo: jamurfjr) (photo: jamurfjr) Contributors: Agent A, jamurfjr, Orin
  4. 7 points
    Pnigomantis medioconstricta (double shield mantis)This is a larger species reaching approximately 9 cm in adult females, colors are highly variable, but the main characteristic that is constant are stripes on the forearms and legs. There are also two light colored cheek patches. There are two shields on the pronotum, usually visible after fifth instar.Native range: Flores Island, IndonesiaGood species for a beginner, but some experience with other species is a bonus. Rate of growth is the typical food/heat dependant, when kept warm they will grow quickly, and if kept cooler slow down, however even when kept cooler this species is a hearty eater.This species has a decently long lifespan, with females capable of living over one year.Nymphs will shed frequently when kept warmer, and the instars get increasingly longer as the mantid reaches maturity.Mating can be difficult with this species due to the extreme aggression in females.This species is moderately active, but is usually a sit and wait predator, however they will give chase if hungry.Younger nymphs are a little more on the skittish side, but respond to handling well once older.This species will not hesitate to cannibalize, but will often threaten one another instead of attack.This species utilizes bright blue inner arm markings with two darker patches lower down on the inner forearms, the wings will also be slightly raised to the sides. The two facial markings also add to the display with open mandibles.This species is very tolerant of temperatures, but around room temperature 20 c will often suffice, however they do quite well when kept a bit warmer around 25 cThis species does not require much humidity (I have never witnessed one drinking) and only requires around average humidity (60%), however a slight increase may be required for the final shed into adulthood.Nymphs should be housed to the normal requirements of 2x width of the mantid in length, and 3x the length in height. This species almost always molts from the lid of the enclosure, but will also molt from a diagonally placed stick. They can remain in a 32 oz insect cup for some time, and even when larger are still capable of gripping a fabric lid.A substrate can be used, but I have found it to be optional, had no mismolts for quite some time without it, and this was due to the mantid falling early in the molt.Decorations can include a fake plant of some kind that does not impede molting, and the mantid will use this item to get to the prey if it does not reach the mantid on it's own.Communal housing is only possible when very young, as this species is voracious, and siblings will be eaten regardless.This species is probably the mist aggressive feeder I have ever kept, they will gladly chase prey nearly as large as themselves, and will eat anything small enough to catch. Feed 1st instars Drosophila hydei and increase prey size as the mantid grows. I have had 3rd instars take prey as large as themselves, and they are not fussy.This species will eat as often as you offer prey, adult males will not eat as much, but females can feed many times daily, even accepting mice.Females and males both exhibit similar appearance, with females having the six abdominal segments, and males eight, females are slightly larger than males, and have shorter antennae, however both sexes are stocky in buildThis species should be treated similar to any Rhombodera species, wait until calling has been witnessed to attempt breeding, as the females will often kill the male prior to this.As such feed the females extremely well, and make sure she is feeding when the male is introduced. As long as they are both mature he should proceed to approach the female, however if she begins to act hostile he will fly away from her.To ensure fertile oothecae, mate her a few times and check for spermatophores.This species will lay ooths without issue, and if oothbound try the methods often used such as a change of decorations.Oothecae are dark brown in coloration, and appear similar to most Rhombodera and Hierodula oothecae.Keep the oothecae warm at around 25 c and time is variable between 6 and 12 weeks, mist once weekly.Average hatch is 60-100 nymphs, which are very hardy from the beginning. Overall this is one my all time favorite species to keep due to their larger size, amazing color variations, and predatory response.
  5. 7 points
    I'm pleased we now have a forum for discussing insect photography. Please post your camera, lens, lighting, macro techniques and photo editing and stacking software questions here. All skill levels are welcome here. We have some members who are great photographers, and I'm hoping they will join in on the discussions, help answer your questions and share some of their tips.
  6. 7 points
    Gongylus gongylodes (Violin Mantis) Introduction: Gongylus gongylodes is a mantis in the Empusidae family. They are native to India, Java, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Thailand. Adults reach about 4-4½ in total length, males being on the smaller side.(brancsikia339) Their much rarer relative, Gongylus trachelophyllus, occurs only in India, and it seems that these don't exist in culture as of now.(brancsikia339) They go by many common names so it is best not to trust these (Other than violin mantis, its most common name): violin mantis, wandering violin mantis, wandering rose mantis, dead leaf mantis, stick mantis, Indian rose mantis, rose mantis, Indian violin mantis, and ornate mantis. This species has an array of common names.(brancsikia339) All in all, Gongylus gongylodes is an incredible species, though not for the novice.(brancsikia339) Physical description/appearance, i.e. size, color, shape, crypsis, etc. Development: Rate of growth and factors involvedLongevity Molting observationsBehavior/temperament: Degree of activityDegree of aggression or timidityPropensity to cannibalizeDynamics of threat displayCaptive Environment: They need a lot of twigs and branches to molt on. They also need high temps, up to the mid 90's and down to the low 80's to molt properly.(brancsikia339) I've kept this species many times, and I found that the hotter the better within reason. They did best in net cages with a heat lamp above the enclosure. I misted daily.(Rick) I never had any trouble keeping them communally but it may be best to keep males and female adults separate except for breeding purposes.(Rick) As all Empusids, this species cannot climb smooth surfaces and should get mesh or twigs to hang from. Temperatures should be about 80 for nymphs, and about 95 for adult males before breeding. Humidity needs only to be at 40-50%.(agent A) Type and size of enclosure(s) used.Substrate or lack thereofCage furnishings, e.g. molting surfaces, perches, décor, plants, etc.Feeding: They feed exclusively on flying food, but have been known to eat crickets. This can have adverse side effects, however.(brancsikia339) L1's through L3's for me were fed on mostly melanogasters and hydeis. From L4 on, they were fed mostly houseflies until some higher molts, in which they will accept BB's. They will also accept treats such as moths, butterflies, wasps and bees. (Bees not recommended because of rarity, and wasps can be dangerous to the mantids).(brancsikia339) These mantids prefer flying food and I raised them on flies. Start out with hydei fruit flies and transition them to houseflies followed by bluebottle flies. They do enjoy other flying insects such as moths.(Rick) Breeding: Males are volitable(able to fly) and females have short wings.(brancsikia339) This species is tricky to breed because males need high temps to mate, but an easy way to eggbind a female is overexposure to high temperatures. Keep the male in a hot, humid cage for a few days in a separate room (95F, 60-70%), then one evening introduce the female. Connection can still occur at room temp but the male needs high temps beforehand to make it work.(agent A) I incubate the ooths at 93f during the day and drop to 86f at night. I mist the container every other day one light mist. My temps are from a incubator so they don't fluctuate and have near perfect hatches in 4 to 6 weeks.(jrh3) Sexing/sexual dimorphism (explanation of physical differences and/or adult sizes of the sexes)Time needed from last molt to copulationTips: give us your methodology.Tips for inducing copulation and fecundityTips for inducing female to lay oothecaeOothecae: Ooths of gongylus are very peculiar, being spiky all around with a large protrustion on the front.(brancsikia339) Physical description and average size. Picture desired; include with other pictures at bottom of Care Sheet.Diapause if necessaryIncubation time and temperatureObserved number/s and range of hatching nymphsOptional Health Issues: infections or illnesses encountered.Additional Observations: pertinent information which doesn't neatly fit anywhere else.Photos: up to five may be posted at the bottom of the completed template. Please limit these photos to no more than one of an ootheca, two of nymphs(different instars), one of an adult female, and one of an adult male. (photo: jrh3) (photo: jrh3) Contributors: agent A, brancsikia339, jamurfjr, jrh3, Rick
  7. 5 points
    Introduction Species: Heterochaeta cf occidentalis Common name: Giant African Stick mantis / cat-eye mantis / 'Chaeta Physical description: 'chaeta is among the largest species of preying mantis kept in captivity, some documented over half a foot long. 'Chaeta is a stick mimic, with it's long and slender appearance, strikingly resembling a part of a branch. 'Chaeta has two conical protrusions on top of both eyes that are distinguished even from the hatchling stage. Chaeta generally has a medium to dark brown coloration and sometimes developes tinges of green, usually on the femur and tibia in its nymph stages. It is also not unusual to see red horns, with blue and green eye color. Native range: 'Chaeta is an African mantis, stemming from cental africa and was first discovered in tanzania (cant find source sorry). Difficulty level: Advanced Development Rate of growth and factors involved: 'chaeta is a slow growing mantis. It's first molt takes about two weeks. It's last molt can take two months. 'Chaeta will grow quicker like most mantids, with warmer temps and frequent feeding. Longevity: 'chaeta's life span from hatchling to adulthood is at least a year and can reach over a year and a half under optimal conditions. Molting observations: 'chaeta will usually look for a camoflaged spot it will perch upside down from and begin to shed skin. Most chaetas molt in unison, within the same 2 day window. 'Chaeta will refuse food before molting. Behavior/temperament Degree of activity: 'chaeta is not a very active mantis, and spends most of its day in one area, even as a nymph. Degree of aggression or timidity: 'chaeta is a very shy and docile mantis. 'Chaeta normally do not hunt prey, but are more of ambush predators relying on its camoflage to trick its prey into getting comfortably close within striking distance. Propensity to cannibalize: 'chaeta has a highly unlikely cannibalization rate if kept with generous space and food. Infact, chaeta is definitely one of the most tollerant mantis towards each other in culture. Dynamics of threat display: 'chaeta has a high tendency for eye to eye interaction and threat display. Usually any quick, previously undetected movement will get chaeta into a threat pose. 'Chaeta will open its coxa out horizontally and extend its raptors with femur and tarsus together, revealing it's warning colors, navy with white dots and a white stripe horizontally connecting them both, on the inside of its coxa. 'Chaeta only opens up its wing set in very confrontational situations as adult. Captive Environment Temperature range and humidity levels: 'chaeta has a high tolerance level to heat and humidity and its living conditions can vary. I've found the best success with heterochaeta is room temps about 60-80ºf with at least 30% humidity. Type and size of enclosure(s) used: chaeta needs to be put in a container 3x its length in diameter and 6x its size in height. Chaeta demands a lot of molting and living space. This maybe the toughest thing about keeping chaeta. I've had success with delis in groups of up to 7 to L4, then they must go inside of a larger aquarium type container. I do not recommend net cages, for whatever reason I can't explain I've had a 80% mismolt rate in them with chaeta, especially in its older instars. A tall aquarium lined with sticks and a light at the top is the best option for this species. Substrate or lack thereof: Chaeta does not need a substrate, but there should be at least 30% humidity. So a good spray every few days isn't a bad idea, but all your chaetas won't die or mismolt if you forget. Cage furnishings, (e.g. molting surfaces, perches, décor, plants, etc.): Chaeta' needs an environment that aids to its crypsis. Birch branches are the best recommendation. Due to chaeta needing a larger environment, it's also a good idea to hang a low wattage cfl to attract their food source. When the prey flies to the light source, it arouses chaetas predatorial instincts. Sometimes crowds of chaeta surround the light during feedings. Communal housing if applicable: chaeta is the most communal mantis ive kept to date and I'm sure is among the most communal in culture. Cannibalization is always a greater possiblity without an adequate food source, proper camoflage and too frequent interaction. Feeding Feeding response: chaeta is not an active hunter like most mantids and prefers to wait until the food is within striking parameters before lunging out. Chaeta will slowly make its way towards a group of prey items. Type and size of prey used and/or refused for various instars: chaeta, despite its skinny stick like build, can overcome larger adversaries than you'd expect. Chaeta at 1st instar are able to eat mels and hydei. At chaetas second instar it can jump to houseflies, and at the fourth instar blue bottles can be used comfortably through out adulthood. Quantity and frequency of feedings: thankfully due to chaetas longer slimness, and ability to overcome surprisingly large prey, the frequency of its feeding is also determined by its size too. L1 to 3 should be fed twice a week, hydeis x6-12 per chaeta or house fly each. Once they graduate to blue bottles they should be fed once a week and be housed in a larger cage to hold a group of 1bb for each at l4 and double it every instar on. Food should continue to be added if its been all devoured. Food intake will almost double for mated females. Adult chaeta can last several weeks with no food and survive, though this is definitely not recommended at all. Breeding Sexing/sexual dimorphism (explanation of physical differences and/or adult sizes of the sexes):chaeta has virtually no difference between male and female by the naked eye until L5. The females are slightly larger and bulkier. Males have longer, fuller antennae. Females have an arch to their cerci that curve downwards right before their two flaps at the end of its abdomen. Males also have a slightly longer wingset and are flight capable. Time needed from last molt to copulation: The time frame between adulthood and the first witnessed mating is between 4 and 6 weeks. I'm sure this time frame is also dependant on environmental factors. Tips: give us your methodology.:the best way to get chaeta to mate is to keep them communually from the start and to give them extra food and privacy at times. Tips for inducing copulation and fecundity: higher temps and humidity aren't as much a determining factor in mating as much as a natural feeling environment. Tips for inducing female to lay oothecae Oothecae: females generally lay very frequently after mating, about once every two weeks, but can be up to a month between. A slightly more frequent misting and food availability maybe necessary for larger healthier ooths. Physical description and average ooth size. Picture desired; include with other pictures at bottom of Care Sheet.: Chaeta oothecae are about 50 mm in length and 35 mm in diameter. They are large, dark gray to light brown, foamy oval oothecae with a long hanging thread at the end. Chaeta oothecae are laid on the underside of a branch most of the time. Diapause if necessary: chaeta ooths do not require a diapause. Incubation time and temperature: chaeta oothecae take about 45-60 days from lay date to hatch date. Hatching and living temps shouldn't differ. Observed number/s and range of hatching nymphs: healthy chaeta ooths should boast in the 50 to 60 range. Even the smallest ooths at the end of a mantids life cycle can hatch 10 mantids. Optional Health Issues: infections or illnesses encountered.: chaeta seem to be a very hardy mantis sp. I would stray from crawling prey unless clean and completely necessary. try to keep humidity above 30 percent especially around molting time. Environment is the biggest stress factor for chaeta. Chaeta can seem healthy and die unexpectedly from what looks like nothing and can be frustrating, this I believe is either overcrowdedness of food or siblings or not enough space or branches creating an environmental stress. Additional Observations: pertinent information which doesn't neatly fit anywhere else.: chaeta is quite a defensive mantis. Chaeta is quick and jumps a lot in its early instars. This can make it hard to manage in groups, but once it knows your not a threat, chaeta will interact well and almost looks for your hands to crawl on during handling. Chaeta should not be handled too often. Chaeta sometimes face eachother in a typical defense pose and open and close its raptor in almost a signaling effect. I have also witnessed a funny dance dubbed the 'happy' dance where chaeta will open and close its raptors frantically in opposite directions much like its signaling to other chaetas, but in a faster motion. The hardest thing about keeping chaeta Is managing a large group of large mantids in a large area. Environmental factors are the key with this species. Give chaeta its camouflage and its stress level will go down drastically. Photos: up to five may be posted at the bottom of the completed template. Please limit these photos to no more than one of an ootheca, two of nymphs(different instars), one of an adult female, and one of an adult male. Oothecae Nymph L1 Nymph L3 Adult female Adult male Edit: it was also asked to post the certain type of housing, this is perfect for l3 groups on to adult. the enclosure is about 4'8"x3'x18" in depth. Photo: OM
  8. 4 points
    Stagmomantis limbata (Bordered Mantis) Introduction: Stagmomantis limbata have a wider range than californica, rumored to range all the way into New England. The limbata are larger and have yellow hindwings compared to californica and carolina and are much more abundant than both in the western US.The wings of limbata also end in a wider shape and extend farther than the wings of other stagmomantis species (females specifically). The adaptability of limbata compared to the other stagmomantis species makes it a great beginner stagmomantis. bulkiest Stagmo border on tegmina—hence the common name yellow(checkered) hind wings South Western USA (McMonigle 135) I have reared S. carolina and S. limbata and S. limbata are much easier and less cannibalistic, more like Sphodromantis in care.(Orin) Difficulty level: beginner. Behavior/temperament: The adults are not shy and females can be quite aggressive. Captive Environment: S. limbata are very adaptable, but need a bit more room than S. californica. Sub adults are a bit too large to fit in just a 32 oz deli, and a slightly larger container should be used. This species can be kept at room temp or a bit hotter their entire lifecycle, and they like humidity to be about 60%. However, they are much more tolerant of a range between 30 and 65% than the other stagmomantis species. Nymphs should be housed individually and should be given mesh or plant material to cling to. Feeding: The large L1 nymphs of this species will greatfully accept D. hydei, and L2/L3 will eat houseflies. Females eat bottleflies as early as L3, and at L4, both sexes can handle bottleflies. This species loves to eat crix and roaches, and a varied diet helps them grow fast and large. Breeding: This is a very prolific species, and breeding is very easy.The adults are not shy and females can be quite aggressive. They are ready to mate 3 weeks into adulthood, and females should be very well fed before mating. It's advisable to introduce the pair in the open, with the female distracted with prey. Mating is easy to commence and lasts 3-6 hours. Females like sticks to lay ooths on and can lay 4-8 ooths in their lifetime. Oothecae: Females like sticks to lay ooths on and can lay 4-8 ooths in their lifetime. Ooths dont need diapause and hatch out after 2-3 months of incubation at 70-80 degrees with daily mistings. 60-120 nymphs hatch out of each ooth over a one week period. L1 nymphs are rather hardy compared to other Stagmomantis species. L1 L4 male L6 female subadult female adult female, displaying the blue line on the lips Contributors: agent A, jamurfjr, Orin, DonovanXFrancesca *McMonigle, Orin A. (2013) Keeping the Praying Mantis. Coachwhip Publications, Greenville, Ohio
  9. 4 points
    Care Sheet Template Topic must be titled with scientific name and common name (example "Phyllocrania paradoxa Ghost Mantis"). Introduction Scientific and common namePhysical description/appearance, i.e. size, color, shape, crypsis, etc. Native range Difficulty level: beginner, intermediate, advanced, or expertDevelopment Rate of growth and factors involvedLongevity Molting observationsBehavior/temperament Degree of activityDegree of aggression or timidityPropensity to cannibalizeDynamics of threat displayCaptive Environment Temperature range and humidity levelsType and size of enclosure(s) used.Substrate or lack thereofCage furnishings, e.g. molting surfaces, perches, décor, plants, etc.Communal housing if applicableFeeding Feeding response Type and size of prey used and/or refused for various instarsQuantity and frequency of feedingsBreeding Sexing/sexual dimorphism (explanation of physical differences and/or adult sizes of the sexes)Time needed from last molt to copulationTips: give us your methodology.Tips for inducing copulation and fecundityTips for inducing female to lay oothecaeOothecae Physical description and average size. Picture desired; include with other pictures at bottom of Care Sheet.Diapause if necessaryIncubation time and temperatureObserved number/s and range of hatching nymphsOptional Health Issues: infections or illnesses encountered.Additional Observations: pertinent information which doesn't neatly fit anywhere else.Photos: up to five may be posted at the bottom of the completed template. Please limit these photos to no more than one of an ootheca, two of nymphs(different instars), one of an adult female, and one of an adult male.Though enclosures can vary, a photo of one that has proven effective is encouraged.Contributors: agent A, jamurfjr, Kloned, Orin, Peter Clausen, Rick, Tammy Wolfe
  10. 4 points
    Sphodromantis spp. (African Mantis) Introduction: Most common in culture: Sphodromantis sp. "blue flash"—known for the blue marking on the inside of femur. Sphodromantis lineola Sphodromantis viridis These are rather large mantises. The adults reach 3-3.5 inches long and are very bulky in appearance. They have the typical mantis look to them. This genus is mainly from Africa and nearby parts of Europe.(agent A) Color: various hues of brown and green. Difficulty level: beginner. Development: Molting is rarely an issue with this species. Young nymphs should be misted often to prevent mismolts, but afterwards, they will molt readily without even showing signs of it. Molts may only be five days apart, and males molt six times, females molt seven.(agent A) Rate of growth and factors involvedLongevity Molting observationsBehavior/temperament: With such an aggressive species, [cannibalism] is a given.(agent A) Degree of activityDynamics of threat displayCaptive Environment: Housing this species isn't much of an issue. At L1 and L2, the nymphs can be kept together in large net cages with plenty of food. Cannibalism will still occur, but with such an aggressive species, this is a given. At L3 and older, until L5, 32oz deli cups or similar size containers work well. Very little is needed other than a paper towel substrate and mesh on the lid to hang from. 80oz deli cups will suffice from L5 until the final molt, though the mantis should be out in a net cage for the final molt. (agent A) Temperature range and humidity levelsFeeding: This mantis is an aggressive feeder. At L1, hydei flies can be used and nymphs start eating houseflies at L2. Nymphs should be fed regularly and will eat a lot of food. Crickets, flies, roaches, moths, spiders, and so much more can be used.(agent A) Breeding: Sexing is very easy even at earlier instars. Males have the eight abdominal segments while females only have six, and the ovipositor of the female is a very wide end segment with a split down the middle at the end.(agent A) About 3 weeks after the final molt, assuming good feeding, adults are ready to pair up. This is a rather aggressive species and even adult males have a decent appetite. Males should be fed twice a week, females should eat daily. Pairing these guys up is simple when they are ready. Put the male in a large cage and let him settle, then add the female. He will quickly notice her but may be weary at first. However, within minutes, he will approach and quickly mount her. He connects soon afterwards, and mating can last 3-8 hours or even longer in some cases. After mating, females should be fed well and offered wooden sticks to lay ooths on. If weather permits, placement of the female on a live tree outside, in a rearing sleeve to prevent issues, can help the ooth laying process.(agent A) Oothecae: Females will lay large ooths every 3-5 weeks and will lay 4-6 in their life.(agent A) Ooths of this species are large and require little more care than light weekly mistings. Room temperature suffices for incubation and 100-200 nymphs will hatch out after 4-6 weeks. (agent A) Physical description and average size. Picture desired; include with other pictures at bottom of Care Sheet.Optional Health Issues: infections or illnesses encountered.Additional Observations: pertinent information which doesn't neatly fit anywhere else.Photos: up to five may be posted at the bottom of the completed template. Please limit these photos to no more than one of an ootheca, two of nymphs(different instars), one of an adult female, and one of an adult male. (photo: S. lineola by patrickfraser) (photo: S. viridis by patrickfraser) Contributors: agent A, jamurfjr, patrickfraser