Praying Mantis Eggs; The Chinese Mantis And How To Care For Its Eggs

Mantis ootheca on fence in Cala de Mijas, Spain
Mantis ootheca on fence in Cala de Mijas, Spain

There are well over two thousand four hundred species of mantis, but the one most people commonly agree is the best kind of mantis to raise, for those whom have never raised them before is the Chinese mantis. It is the largest species of mantis in Northern America and also a very excellent source of natural pest control. Praying mantis are for sale at many different kind of pet shops and can even be ordered in from other countrys (for those die-hard mantis fanatics).

Ootheca
Ootheca

The Chinese mantis, like most other kind of mantis, lay their eggs in a hardened, temperature protecting case, called a ootheca, egg sack or egg case. When first produced by the female the casing is soft but it soon dries and when it does it acts in much the same fashion as concrete. This hard casing protects the insects until they are ready to hatch, from both predators and the environment. Though all mantis lay eggs their egg casing differs markedly species to species in size, shape and color.

Caring for the Egg Case (ootheca)

When you have purchased a female mantis and she has laid her eggs you should not bother her. After about three to five days after she has laid her eggs, the casing will be hard enough to allow you to remove the ootheca. It is highly recommended that you remove the nymphs, not just because of temperature and environmental concerns which they require when hatching, but also because the female adult will likely eat all of the nymphs! Remember that the praying mantis is a cannibalistic species.

Japanese Mantis Ootheca
Japanese Mantis Ootheca

Once the ootheca has been removed place it a enclosure that is at least about 15 cm up and down and 8 cm side to side. There will be a lot of mantis babies so this makes sure there is enough room for all of them when they finally emerge. Also make sure that this container has a lot of ventilation so that the mantis babies don’t die from oxygen deprivation. If you are using something that does not feature mesh or similar material try punching holes in the material but make sure that they are very small or else the mantis hatchlings may swarm your home!

Container with Praying Mantis Eggs (Ootheca egg cases)
Container with Praying Mantis Eggs (Ootheca egg cases)

Place the ootheca on the lid on the inside of your enclosure and make sure you place it with the same orientation that the female did previously. The egg sack can be secured with tape. If you use tape make sure that none of the adhesive is exposing or it will trap and kill any hatchlings that are unfortunate enough to walk across it. A needle or similar item may also be used if you know where the eggs are and are not, this is generally the tip of the ootheca.

Nymph Mantises Hatching from Praying Mantis Ootheca

When the eggs are ready to hatch ensure that you keep both the humidity and temperature at the appropriate level for your species. Use a substrate at the bottom of your insect enclosure to ensure high humidity.

 

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