LIVE PRAYING MANTISES:
Praying Mantis Egg Case
Living Praying Mantis
Praying Mantis Kit
MANTIS FOOD - Nymph:
Flightless Fruit Flies
Wingless Fruit Flies
Silkworms - Extra Small
Fruit Fly Larvae
Rice Flour Beetles & Larvae
MANTIS FOOD - Adult:
Silkworms - Small/Medium
Superworms - Large
PRAYING MANTIS SUPPLIES:
MANTIS - EDUCATIONAL:
Mantid Life Cycle Figures
Praying Mantis Background
Praying Mantises are part of a very large family of insects that contain about 2,200 species in nine families
that live all over the world in both temperate and tropical climates.
Most of the species are in the family Mantidae, which is the creature we offer and which is what most of us think of
when we hear the name, "Praying Mantis."|
The closest relatives of mantises are termites and cockroaches, and the three are sometimes even
ranked as an order rather than suborder. Confused? Well, the entire family order and suborder of these insects
is the subject of ongoing debate in the entomology world.
The structure of the compound eye creates the illusion of a small pupil
Mantises have two grasping, spiked forelegs called "raptorial legs" in which prey items are caught and held securely (see image above).
The movement of the head is also remarkably flexible, permitting nearly 300 degrees of movement in some species
and allowing for a great range of vision without the need to move their bodies.
As their hunting relies heavily on vision, they are primarily diurnal, meaning active during the daytime.
The name praying mantis refers to the prayer-like
stance of the insect (the name is often misspelled as "preying" mantis because they are predatory).
Praying mantises are often confused with phasmids (stick-leaf insects) and other elongated insects.
What & How Do Praying Mantises Eat?
The praying mantis is almost exclusively predatory and carnivorous, with insects forming most of their diet.
They will eat basically ANYTHING that they can capture, overcome and usually eat alive- YIKES!
For this reason, mantises are not known to be finicky eaters. They may even practice cannibalism when hungry enough.
Most people keeping mantids as pets will initially feed them flightless fruit flies when they hatch and
then switch to larger critters as the mantids grow.
Here at the Praying Mantis Shop, we offer all the above and below insects for your pets, so CLICK AWAY AND SHOP!
Most praying mantises are ambush hunters that wait for prey to wander close enough. With amazing speed, they will then
strike out and grab the unfortunate critter with the oversized, claw-like fore limbs that allow them
to securely hold the struggling meal. Some specifies do, however, actually chase their meals down.
Some mantids can grow very large and these larger mantid species have been known to prey on fish, birds,
snakes, lizards, even rodents. YIKES again!
And yet some other species may
hiss at would-be predators. Praying mantises can bite, but they have no venom.
Nearly any large predatory animal, such as bullfrogs, snakes and many reptiles and amphibians will eat a mantis,
not to mention your household cat or dog, so be sure to watch out for your buddies!
Although the claws may look big and wicked, they aren't much in the way of providing protection.
Praying mantises have little in the way of self-defense except for the use of camouflage.
They are protected simply by remaining still (which they can do very well) and blending into their surroundings,
with most species making use of protective coloring to match their surrounding foliage or substrate.
Many mantis species will also fan their wings out when directly threatened,
which makes them seem larger and more menacing to other predators.
"Don't mind me,
I'm just trying to blend in."
The use of praying mantises as a form of biological pest control is becoming more and more
common, as it should. The spraying of chemical poisons in the garden and into our environment
is increasingly being seen by folks more negatively, also as should be.
As we know, praying mantises are pretty big eaters. They would love to snack on little
morsels of aphid, worm, grub, etc. But beware, the mantid will eat beneficial insects as well,
such as lady bug larvae and lace wings.
We DO recommend the use of the praying mantis to control large
outbreaks and infestations of harmful insects. Since the mantid is basically a transitory creature,
they will soon move on and you'll be left with a pest population devastated by your little helpers.
As a method of biological pest control, praying mantises are great, along with lady bugs (far left),
which can also be purchased. Be aware that the mantises will eat good bugs as well, including perhaps
what one may consider "good" caterpillars (second from left) that turn into pretty butterflies. But,
you'll definitely want your mantid buddies eating the dreaded tomato hornworm (third from left) that will devour your
tomato vines. Also bad and on the mantis menu: Earwigs and hungry, greedy grasshoppers (last two on right respectively).
Praying mantis egg cases are
attached to branches or leafs in the wild, waiting for Spring.
The praying mantis female attaches a sticky egg case to the underside of a leaf or branch during the Fall (see image left).
The egg case will begin to hatch sometime during late Spring and early Summer when temperatures warm up and the egg case
magically comes to life after a chilly winter.|
The offspring, called nymphs pop out of the egg case in rapid succession. They are approximately 4 mm long at "birth." Once having time
to "adjust" to the world, they begin to eat.
They are voracious eaters all through life. They will sometimes even cannibalize each other if left without enough food.
Unlike a typical larva, biologically speaking a nymph's overall form already resembles that of the adult.
Nymphs do not enter a pupa or metamorphic stage, although they do molt or shed their skin.
At The Praying Mantis Shop, of course,
EGG CASES are available !
Also, we stock a large variety of praying mantis LIVING FOOD
as well as other SUPPLIES and
Browse our store, won't you?
How To Care For Praying Mantis Pets - Food & Love
Many people LOVE having pet praying mantises. Or, as mentioned above,
they make a very useful "garden pet." Don't forget the incredible
classroom science project that mantises will make.
THE EGG CASE:
The praying mantises may emerge from the egg right away, but you can
expect them to take 4-6 weeks to hatch. The case may hatch over 100
mantises, but you can realistically expect five or so to survive. This
is because you'll ultimately need to place only one individual in each
Upon receipt of your praying mantis egg case, place it inside your enclosure.
Mantises need plenty of areas to climb around, hide and stalk food, so
place vegetation - either living or non-living along with some branches and leaves
inside the enclosure. The egg case should be kept at room temperature.
If it's kept chilly, it may take longer to hatch or may not at all.
You may also place the case outside amogst the garden foliage if you
are using the mantises for biological control. Do not let direct sunlight
hit the egg case. If humidity is dry, mist the folige inside the enclosure once
THE NEWBORN NYMPH:
Please be patient, the egg case WILL hatch. The timing
of the hatch will vary from egg case to egg case and with conditions such
as temperature. Some will hatch quickly and others will take much longer.
After hatching, the egg case does not appear changed in any way. If you
have hung the case in your garden, you may see the tiny babies or nymphs
near the case. Since mantises are basically transitory, they will roam
all parts of your garden and many are sure to leave it altogether. Some
may be eaten by birds or lizards. Just be sure there is food in your garden such
as aphids. If not, you may be interested in the food items we offer.
Provide the newborn mantises with food and water right away.
Be sure to mist the encosure and place a wet cotton ball inside a shallow dish.
Our Flightless Fruit Flies
can not only be fed to your pet mantises in cages,
but can also be sprinkled around the garden for your free-range mantises if their
habitat doesn't show much sign of life yet.
Please visit our Mantis Nymph Food Page if you
are in need of food for your newly hatched mantids. If you have larger mantids,
you may be interested in our Mantis Adult Food Page.
Continue to mist frequently and provide continous food. Keep them out of
direct sunlight and keep the humidity up by misting. Some of the nymphs
will die, which is normal. Or may be eaten by their brothers or sisters if they are hungry.
After a couple of days, separate the number you'll want to keep into individual
enclosures. You may wish to still keep the remaining nymphs in the mass enclosure
in case one of the separated individuals die.
As they grow, the mantises will eat larger and larger food and
will need more and more room.
If you are keeping the praying mantises in one of our enclosures or your own,
be sure there is room for them to move around and have their own space from each
other. Mantises need places to climb.
Clean your pet's enclosure weekly. Be sure there is always some
food, such as our flightless fruit flies available in the enclosure.
Beware of slots in the lids of critter keepers or other screen lids.
The nymphs will quickly escape through very small openings. Our
Nymph Enclosure or Pagoda
will ensure that the newborns and flightless flies don't get out.
Keep the mantises at a comfortable room temperature. Unlike reptiles,
praying mantises need no special lights or vitamin d supplements (they have no bones).
Also, no special dusting of their food with vitamins is necessary. How EASY!
TEACH THEM TRICKS:
Through observation and interaction, we believe praying mantises are rather unique.
You can sense almost an alien intelligence as they turn their heads to look at you looking at them.
You can hold your new friends and teach them to walk on your fingers. You may even get them
to take food from your hand! Be sure to give them a special name and HAVE FUN!
Order Yours Today
YOU CAN ORDER EVERYTHING HERE AT OUR ONLINE SHOP
Here at the Praying Mantis Shop, you'll find everything needed in order
to welcome your new praying mantis friends, including:
Should you have any questions or needs, we are always here to help-
Please Contact Us Here.
National Geographic - One of our favorite places to find information on just about anything in nature that's under the sun.
The University of Arizona - This page packs a ton of concise information about our animal friends into a small space.
WikiHow - How to Take Care of a Praying Mantis -
A very easy to read, step-by-step guide about how to care for this amazing creature.