Eye Discoloration

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jmantis

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Hello, first time Mantis owner here! I was hoping someone would be able to help explain what is going on with my Chinese mantid, Mr. Bug Man. His eye is dark/black around the edge with a black line through the centre. The other eye looks completely normal, he hasn’t eaten in 3 days which is strange as he has a pretty strong appetite. I’ve attached photos below of him with the eye issue and his enclosure. The lilac’s he’s climbing on in the photos are NOT part of his enclosure and he was only on them for about 5 minutes while I took a few photos.I’d also love any tips/tricks about Mantis care!

Here are some more details about him/his enclosure:

- He was born on April 5 2024, I have had him since May 12, 2024
- His last molt was May 22 and he ate on the day of his molt
- He lives in a 4.7”x4.7”x7.8” acrylic enclosure with fabric mesh (cut up butterfly net, lol) on the top and halfway up the sides. The photo of his enclosure is before I added mesh to the sides. Using Eco Earth as substrate, he also has a piece of driftwood and a tiny air plant as home decor.
- Mr. Bug Man eats Drosophila Hydei and is fed every second day.

Thank you in advance! ❤️‍🩹
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I'm mostly new to the hobby too but I've had the exact same thing happen to one of my Chinese mantises before. I think this discoloration in the eye could be a result of feeding him fruit flies for too long. I think you should move him up to bigger food, such as houseflies. He may have to be hand-fed for a couple days or weeks. The black color never went away in mine but he seemed to be able to eat fine by himself after the next molt or two. Hope he does OK!
 
I'm mostly new to the hobby too but I've had the exact same thing happen to one of my Chinese mantises before. I think this discoloration in the eye could be a result of feeding him fruit flies for too long. I think you should move him up to bigger food, such as houseflies. He may have to be hand-fed for a couple days or weeks. The black color never went away in mine but he seemed to be able to eat fine by himself after the next molt or two. Hope he does OK!
Thank you SO much for your help!😊 I saw your response and went to check on him. He was right in the middle of moulting, I feel so honoured to have witnessed it! I will 100% be taking your advice and now need to figure out what his new diet will be. Nowhere in my city sells bluebottle/houseflies, and I’ve heard nothing but bad things about crickets. He doesn’t show interest in food if it isn’t moving or active, so I worry about him not eating a larger feeder if I chopped it up for him. Any suggestions? Thank you again for your response.
 
For a time, I caught wild insects for mine to eat because I didn't know where to access flies. Although catching wild food can be time-consuming(especially without a net), and you have to be cautious with it. Insects can be toxic or dangerous to a mantis, I generally avoid spiders, butterflies, or anything else that I can't identify. It also comes with the risk of contaminating your mantis with pesticides.
However, there are some places online that sell fly pupae that you can hatch for your mantis. Josh's Frogs sells house fly pupae, which I used when my mantis was smaller. Panterra Pets sells blue bottle fly pupae which are good when your mantis is bigger. I usually put a few pupae in a small paper cup and leave it at the bottom of the enclosure and they'll usually hatch out in a few days, you can store the rest in the fridge where they will lay dormant until brought into warmer temperature. Hope that helps!
 
For a time, I caught wild insects for mine to eat because I didn't know where to access flies. Although catching wild food can be time-consuming(especially without a net), and you have to be cautious with it. Insects can be toxic or dangerous to a mantis, I generally avoid spiders, butterflies, or anything else that I can't identify. It also comes with the risk of contaminating your mantis with pesticides.
However, there are some places online that sell fly pupae that you can hatch for your mantis. Josh's Frogs sells house fly pupae, which I used when my mantis was smaller. Panterra Pets sells blue bottle fly pupae which are good when your mantis is bigger. I usually put a few pupae in a small paper cup and leave it at the bottom of the enclosure and they'll usually hatch out in a few days, you can store the rest in the fridge where they will lay dormant until brought into warmer temperature. Hope that helps!
Wow, thank you for the information! I’m very happy to update that his eye doesn’t seem to be bothering him at all. He is already super active after the moult and is definitely able to see pretty good still. I’ve attached a better photo of his eye now that he’s freshly moulted. Is it still similar to what your mantid’s eye looked like?
 

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