Can You Tell If An Ooth Is Fertile Without The Risk Of Killing Any Nymphs?

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Montana_Mantids

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This is a question I’m sure many breeders and buyers have asked over the years. This is going to be a long post, so bear with me (I’ll make sure to include photos to keep this from being so boring).

IMG_0895.jpeg

Hatched ooths of (from Left to Right) Mantis religiosa (WC), Iris oritoria (WC), and Phyllocrania paradoxa (CB).
 
If you have bought or had one of you females lay an ooth before, you have probably wondered if the ooth is fertile. While for most species, there is no way for you to 100% guarantee anything just by looking at the ooth, there are a few signs, tips, and tricks to help give you an idea if an ooth is fertile. Before I dive into this any further, I recommend keeping any ooths that haven’t hatched yet as if they are fertile (even if they were from a female that had never been mated). First off, you can sometimes be totally sure that an ooth won’t hatch, and it may still hatch as long as you don’t give up on it until way past its due date. Also, to touch on the not mated female’s ooths, I have had experiences with female ghosts in a group where I didn’t have any males (could not have been an accident, I didn’t have a single adult male the whole time the females were adult) lay eggs that actually produced nymphs from parthenogenesis. I’m not saying that this will happen, but it is a possibility, and a good thing to keep in mind. The parthenogenesis may have been from the females diet causing them to be able to parthenogenesize a couple of eggs in the ooth. Unlike Miomantis paykulli and Brunneria borealis, Phyllocrania paradoxa (ghost mantises) are not parthenogenic, so this was kinda a miracle. I’m not going to go down that rabbit hole this time. I’ll save that for a different post.
 
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IMG_3312.jpeg

Older Phyllocrania paradoxa with a small ooth.
(I’ll get more information in tomorrow or whenever I get the chance)
 
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If this post is for (acquiring ooths and making sure they’re fertile) there’s a straight and simple resolve to this particular issue:

“ DONT GAMBLE ON GETTING AN OOTH” and if you do ensure the one offering it also offers you hatch guarantee.

Why? Even if you get a fertile Ooth there’s issues that can happen during transit out of both buye/selle reach. And this would make the Ooth not viable.

I do sell Ooths but only ship after the 3 week incubation mark (anything sent before and the % of unhatched chances is greater).

In a few words, make sure you know the person offering you an Ooth quite well.

Now, in regards to backlighting an Ooth to ensure fertility ;

There’s is no issues doing so on week 3. I do it always and I have hatches always. Unless you’re sticking an overpowered mega heating lamp then there should be no issues at all.
 
This wasn’t about buying ooths, it was supposed to be posts for breeders wondering if the ooths produced from their females were fertile. I only purchase ooths with guarantees, but that is a valid point. I’ve never had any issues arise from transit. I totally agree with the more developed nymphs having a lower chance of being messed up in shipping although I’ve never had a problem with it. Thanks for adding some info to this thread. I’m going to be add quite a bit more latter today.
 
This wasn’t about buying ooths, it was supposed to be posts for breeders wondering if the ooths produced from their females were fertile. I only purchase ooths with guarantees, but that is a valid point. I’ve never had any issues arise from transit. I totally agree with the more developed nymphs having a lower chance of being messed up in shipping although I’ve never had a problem with it. Thanks for adding some info to this thread. I’m going to be add quite a bit more latter today.
My pleasure 😊👌🏼
 
Okay. I’m back. Besides witnessing a male connect multiple times, you can sometimes tell if an ooth is fertile by shape and sometimes color. Infertile ooths are sometimes small or misshapen (Not sure if I have any pictures of these ooths, but I will see what I can find). This only works sometimes because of how diet can also affect the size and shape of an ooth. Diets are again something I should bring up in a different post.
 
IMG_1229.jpeg

Adult female Astyliasula phyllopus with a massive infertile ooth behind her.
IMG_1084.jpeg

Color difference between infertile (top) and fertile (bottom). Notice the wonky end on the top infertile ooth. This picture is not entirely accurate because the infertile ooth was relatively fresh and still had its blue color.
 

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