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Why keep a praying mantis as a pet?

praying-mantis-nymphOne might not imagine keeping an insect such as a praying mantis as a household pet, but for many, it is a great interest. Are you bored of the usual cats and dogs? Would you like an alternative pet? If so, a praying mantis is for you! These can be kept happily indoors, in enclosures stimulating their natural
environment. If you are unsure how to create this environment for your praying mantis, then see the care section (to the left) for more details. The praying mantis is a very tame insect, and tolerant to handling, however, frequent handling can cause stress. Feeding on small insects such as crickets, or cockroaches, available from your local pet store, their diet is very easy to satisfy.

How easy are praying mantids to care for?

shield-mantisThe praying mantis in general is a very easy species to keep. There are hundreds of different species of praying mantis available in captivity, some of which are easy, but some of which are very hard. The hard part for the more exotic species, is providing the correct climate in the enclosure, one like in their natural habitat. Without this, praying mantids are prone to disease, infection,and mostly death. However, when you purchase your praying mantis from Mantisinc Insect Store you will be advised on its level of keeping. Insectstore offer a wide range of species that are very easy to care for, and perfect for the beginner. Species such as the Pseudocreobotra Wahlbergii (Spiny Flower Mantis) are a great species. They are very easy to keep, tolerant to a range of temperatures and humidity, and at the same time, a beautiful specimen.

Where can I get captive bred praying mantis advice from?

presdocreobotra-wahlbergii-spiny-flower-mantis

The answer to that is right here! Not only does Insectstore offer a range of praying mantids and ootheca (eggs pods) all year round, but also advice on how to keep mantids. Upon purchase, Insectstore guarantees a constant help line via email, answering any questions or queries you might have in keeping your praying mantis. Not only do you have constant email advice, but you can feel free to phone for advice (pelase contact for more details.) You will also be provided with detailed care sheets on many different species of praying mantis, and if you require further help, a forum to post up any queries, and leave it to the team of praying mantis hobbyists to help you out!

The sale of praying mantids is relatively new, with the marketing having grown dramatically in the past 5 years or so. You will find many places online offering praing mantids for sale, however not all of these will be genuine. A typical scam will involve African or Nigerian sellers who give out huge lists of many different exotic species of mantis for sale. The majority of these sellers will no bear any species at all, and in fact, not even be in contact with anyone who owns these species. So, care must be taken when purchasing off of a supplier without a legitimate looking website, or high seller reputation.

Praying mantids are very easy to maintain as an exotic pet, and make great home or classroom pets. They can be rearing in small tanks, with no need for any fancy furnishings or other expensive decor or equipment. They make excellent pets for children or early learners, especially species such as the Giant Asian mantis (Hierodula species) or African mantis (Sphodromantis species). These are typical mantids, and bear the well known praying mantis stance, with the large green body, and arms folded in a praying position. Species range dramatically, from large, bright species, to very small cryptic species, mimicing leaves and flowers. The mimicing species of praying mantis are generally more difficult to look after than the plain species, however this is not always the case. Species such as the Indian flower mantis (Creobroter species) are very exotic looking, but the are as easy to care for as an African mantis species. Many people choose their praying mantis judging by their looks, but is often wise to choose them regarding how easy the are to keep. For this, I have provided several care sheets to the left. Also, a database of most praying mantis species kept in captivity is listed below, and should be finished in coming weeks.

Praying mantids are often used as pest control insects. They are used widely in the United States, and egg pods (oothecae) can be purchased from most garden centre’s in the correct season. The UK climate is a little harsh to keep praying mantids outside, however with some species, it is potentially possible. Attempts have been made to raer such insects outisde, but the introduction of the mantis into the UK wilderness would be against current laws.

Here is a list of species you might expect to see in culture:

Acanthops Falcata – Tropical Dead Leaf
Acanthops Fuscifolia – Tropical Dead Leaf
Acanthops Tuberculata – Tropical Dead Leaf
Acromantis Sp. – Boxer Mantis
Ameles Decolor
Ameles Spallanzania
Blepharopsis Mendica – Thistle Mantis
Brunneria Sp. – Stick Mantis
Brunneria Borealis – Stick Mantis
Camelomantis Sondaica
Ceratomantis Sp.
Choeradodis Rhombicollis – Tropical Shield Mantis
Choeradodis Stallii – Tropical Shield Mantis
Cilnia Humeralis
Creobroter Meleagris – Indian Flower Mantis
Creobroter Gemmatus – Indian Flower Mantis
Creobroter Pictipennis – Indian Flower Mantis
Creobroter Elongata – Indian Flower Mantis
Deroplatys Dessicata – Dead Leaf Mantis
Deroplatys Horrificata – Dead Leaf Mantis
Deroplatys Lobata – Dead Leaf Mantis
Deroplatys Truncata – Dead Leaf Mantis Empusa Fasciata
Empusa Pennata
Eremiaphila Zetterstedti
Euchomenella Heteroptera – Twig Mantis
Gongylus Gongylodes – Indian Rose/Violin Mantis
Heterochaeta Strachani
Hierodula Grandis – Giant Asian Mantis
Hierodula Membranacea – Giant Indian Mantis
Hoplocorypha spec
Hierodula Patellifera – Indo Pacific Mantis
Humbertiella Sp.
Hymenopus Coronatus – Orchid Mantis
Idolomantis Diabolica – Devils Flower Mantis
Idolomorpha Madagascariensis
Iris Oratoria Macromantis Hyalina
Mantis Religiosa – European Mantis
Miomantis Paykuluii – Egyptian Mantis
Miomantis Abysinica – Egyptian Mantis
Odontomantis Sp. – Ant Mantis
Orthodera Novaezealandiae – New Zealand Mantis
Otomantis Sp.
Oxyopsis Gracilis – Peruvian Mantis
Oxyopsis Peruviana – Peruvian Mantis
Oxyothespis Dumonti
Parasphendale Agrionina – Bud Winged Mantis
Partoxodera sp. – Giant Malaysian Stick Mantis
Phyllocrania Paradoxa – Ghost Mantis
Plistospilota Guineensis
Polyspilota Sp.
Popa Spurca Crassa – Twig Mantis
Pseudocreobotra Ocellata – Spiny Flower Mantis
Pseudocreobotra Wahlbergii – Spiny Flower Mantis
Rhombodera Basalis – Giant Shield Mantis
Rhombodera Extensicollis – Giant Shield Mantis
Rhomodera Megaera – Giant Shield Mantis
Sphodromantis Balachowskyi – African Mantis
Sphodromantis Lineola – African Mantis
Sphodromantis Rubrastigmata – African Mantis
Sphodromantis Centralis- African Mantis
Stagmatoptera Hyaloptera
Stagmomantis Californicata – Carolina Mantis
Stagmomantis Carolina – Carolina Mantis
Stagmomantis Limbata – Carolina Mantis
Sybilla Pretiosa – Cryptic Mantis
Tamolanica tamolana
Tarachodes Afzelii
Tarachodula pantherina
Theopropus Elegans
Tisma Freyi
Taumantis Sigiana – Lime Green Mantis
Taumantis Hermanii – Lime Green Mantis
Tenodera Aridifolia Sinensis – Chinese Mantis

Mantid Identity

There can be a lot of confusion about which mantids are which, as so many get wrongly named, or generally mis-identified in captivity. So, the following is just a description of what each of these species look like. I would liek to include photos, but there is simply to many species, of which the majority, I have never kept.

Acanthops Falcata – Tropical Dead Leaf

All Acanthops species are somewhat odd, they are small and crumpled, and usually fold their abdomens very tightly. They are a chocolate brown in colour, with mottled markings. Wings cover the whole abdomen in both sexes. These are an EXTREMELY good leaf mimic!

Acromantis Sp. – Boxer Mantis

Usually a brown/beige colour, bearing a low stance. Males and females both have wings, with a breen stripe running down the side of each females wings. Large raptorial forearms give the Acromantis their famous name of “boxer mantis”.

Ameles Decolor

A VERY small mantis, plain brown in colour. Females only sprout small wing buds, wheras males will grow wings which cover the abdomen. Ootheca are tiny, usually no longer/wider than 1cm.

Blepharopsis Mendica – Thistle Mantis

As the name indicates, this mantis looks like a thistle. It’s abdomen is covered in many rubbery spines, and a mottled blue/green/white effect to help the disguise. Some adults can grow to a bright breen colour, however some remain a beige colour. Both males and females possess fully grown wings.

Brunneria Borealis – Stick Mantis

A very slender mantis, looking more like a phasmid. Females are parthenogentic, so can breed successfully without mating. Females possess small wing buds, whereas males will grow full wings.

Choeradodis

This has the be the most awesome leaf mimic species ever! Also known as the hooded mantis, the Choreododis bears a huge shield, and a very rounded wing case. They stay very flat, and close to the ground, perfecting the leaf mimic.

Cilnia Humeralis

A fairly large, plain looking species. Adult females bear a wing case that stretches about two thirds of the way down her abdomen. Her raptorial forearms are very large, and look almost top heavy. They bear a lime breen colour, with a slightly darker colour wing case.

Creobroter

The Creobroter family is one of the “award winning” flower mimics. With vibrant target like markings on their wing case, striped legs, and a stiff stance, the Creobroter is amazing for it’s small size. Males and females both have fully grown wings, with females being much wider than males.

Deroplatys

The dead leaf mantis looks just as you would expect; a dead leaf. With crumpled leg and adbominal projections, and a very cryptic looking wingcase (stretching across the whole adbomen), these dark brown specimens make an excellent camoflague.

Empusa

A long, thin, spindly looking manid. Slightly cryptic, and young looking like that of the Gongylus, the Empusa appears quite easy to identify. Females bear a large horn on their head, and both have a large breen wingcase stretching to the end of the abdomen.

Euchomenella

The Euchomenella species are twig mimics, bearing a long, slender stance. Females will only grow small wing buds, wheras males will grow full wings. They take a mottled borwn colour.

Phasmid care sheets

Aretaon Asperrimus (Sabah Thorny Stick Insect)

Females are broad and spiny. They are dark brown in general, with a crème stripe running along their back. The males are similar, but they have slightly longer spines and are a lot skinnier. The spines are red-tipped.

Eurycantha Calcarata (Giant Spiny Stick Insect)

Large spiny species. Dark chocolate brown, verging on black. Sexes similar, males smaller, and have two very large spines on their two back femurs, used defensively. Their two back legs are very muscular because of this. Females are much more gentle than males, and don’t have the two femur spines.

Trachyaretaon bruekneri (Giant Thorny Stick Insect)

Absolutely stunning as nymphs! As adults they are a brick-red color, with occasionally variation into greens and grays. Long antennae. Quite bulky.

Carausius Morosus (Indian Stick Insect)

Females olive green to brown, with red patches on their inner front legs. Males light brown. I should mention that males are non-existent in culture, although occasionally a male-look-a-like female is produced.

Pseudodiacantha macklottii (Javan Lichen Stick Insect)

Very beautiful species. Females have small appendages all over the body, and are mottled green, black and grey, in a lichen effect. Abdomen is quite large when swollen with ova. They appear to have two ‘devil-horns’ on their head. Males similar, but much more skinny. Both sexes have small wings, useless for flight, but are used to deter predators. They are bright orange, fringed with a black border and white dots.

Oreophotes peruana (Peruvian Fern Stick Insect)

Long antennae in both species. Females black an yellow or black and orange. Males scarlet with black legs. Small beady black eyes. Females have a very rotund abdomen when laying. Eggs, which are disc shaped, are grey and black when dry, but reddish-black when wet.

Sipyloidea sipylus (Pink Winged Stick Insect)

Bache-fleshy pink colored insect. Typical Sipyloidea body structure i.e. a short body and very slender legs. Fully functional wings, which are slightly pink. Little eyes, which protrude both sides of the head. Eggs are brown and grey and cylindrical.

Phaenopharos khaoyaiensis (Red Winged Stick Insect)

Very stick like! The one I hold I my hand as I write this is a mottled grey, with small black tubercles all over the thorax. Antennae are very long, and there are small appendages on the tarsi of the front legs. The small, rudimentary wings, used to scare predators are bright scarlet, with black lines running out from the base. Very psychedelic! When at rest all legs are snapped close to body, and front legs are outstretch forward.

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