FEEDING A PRAYING MANTIS
It all depends of the species, the stage of its mutation and its gender.
Naturally, the adult female requires more food.
In the first stages – from the birth to the Level 4/5 – the praying mantis measu- ring about 4 cm shall be fed with drosophiles. These larvae mute into flies in three or four days in an ambient temperature.
We shall open the cover of the vivarium of the mantis and drop some drosophiles inside the terrarium.
At this stage, the mantis needs to be fed every second day for assuring the growth correctly.
When the praying mantis will cease to eat and remain unmoved – most of the time on top of the vivarium – this will means the mantis is preparing its ecdysis. At this stage, it’s recommended not to give food until the process is completed, because the preys might disturb the mantis in the process and causing the death of the praying mantis that will remain trapped in its exuvia.
As soon as the specimen will attains the good size (L5, ante-sub, sub-adult), we shall give, every three days, three or four blatta lateralis cockroaches alias red runners. They are really fast insects without suction cups on legs which means no possibilities to escape. These cockroaches have a quick development and are quite dynamic, all of this activates the haunting instinct of the praying mantis. The feeding doesn’t exceed 50% of the size of praying mantis, despite the fact the mantis can captures preys twice its size.
We will switch and give flies. Every fifteen days, we’ll put the maggots out of the fridge allowing their metamorphosis and we’ll put a spoon of them in the viva- rium. The warm will completely turn them into flies in four days and they will be eaten by the praying mantis.
Once the imaginal ecdysis obtained (imaginal means the last ecdysis of an insect), the praying mantis becomes adult – wings appears – so the feeding must be operate twice a week with – four big red runners every five or six days or two blatta lateralis cockroaches and two blaptica dubia cockroaches. We maintain this rhythm until the death of the praying mantis.
An adult praying mantis can survive fifteen days or three weeks without food.
We’ll overeat the female with red runners. We’ll give it to about ten cockroaches. When all of them are eaten, we’ll give it the same amount until its stomach is full and the female decides itself not to eat anymore.
Usually, it will not paying attention to the preys and will reach the highest point of its vivarium. The male will be fed as usual and introduced inside the vivarium of the female when the female will finish eating.
If the female shows hostility towards the male, we will displace the male and try again few days later.
It’s mandatory to always put six cockroaches in the terrarium in order that the female can eat food during the reproduction and, de facto, don’t eat the male. The female will attack the male only in its last resort.
Once the procreation act is performed, we’ll quickly put the male in its own vivarium with food. We can also anticipate and leave a dozen of flies and some cockroaches in the female’s vivarium during its reproduction period.
From fifteen days, the female will make its first ootheca. A fertilized female must be nourished as a sub adult mantis with three cockroaches every two or three days.
A reproduction can happen only when the two mantises have reached their sexual maturity – three weeks after the last ecdysis.