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Thread: Sphodromantis lineola (African Mantis)

  1. #1
    nepenthes_ak's Avatar
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    Im interested in getting some of these little guys what do you guys think?

    I plan on going out and getting a 10 gallon tank (either way im getting the tank for an eventual manitids!), I have plenty of peat to use as a substrate to keep humidity, But Im worried about feeding! Theirs a site that says meal worms roaches, moths house flies, What should I feed them?!? Joosa help me!!!



    Can I keep them together if they are well feed? How would I know when they are ready to mate?



    For separating could I just get some plexi-glass and keep them separated like males and females?

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    Aklys joossa's Avatar
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    Hi! Good choice on you first mantid species! Just watch out for the females; I hear they get quite violent when they are about to lay their ooths.

    When you said "little guys", did you mean newly hatched nymphs, L1 nymphs, L2 nymphs... or adults? The breeder that you are getting them from should tell you what stage they are in. Please post what stage they will be in. BTW, L1 is after the first molt, L2- after the second molt, and so on until the last molt- and this stage is considered adult. The stage before the final molt is called sub-adult.

    Substrate:
    Peat or LFS is fine for substrate.

    Feeding and housing for nymphs (newly hatched nymphs through L2):
    Don't worry too much about feeding, unless you're getting newly hatched nymphs. If you are getting baby nymphs soon or a fertile ootheca that you will hatch on your own then you have 2 main directions you can go in (NOTE: the first method is the best way to rear newly hatched nymphs IMO).
    1. If you are getting lots of newly hatched nymphs or a fertile ooth, leave them all in a medium sized container or tank. You MUST have had at least 2 fruit fly cultures started BEFORE the nymphs arrive or hatch. In this method, you let the nymphs play natural selection in their tank. You basically put in some fruit flies for them to eat. Of course if you have a ton of nymphs, then the flies produced from one culture won’t be enough, so, yes the nymphs will eat each other. You add in a couple of fruit flies every day and spray them every day and you wait… Once you are about down to six-ten mantids left, then you separate them into individual deli cups. By this time they will have probably gone through their first or even second molt, which will make caring for them much easier. Continue feeding the juvenile nymphs fruit flies and spraying daily until their second molt or until they look like they can handle bigger prey.
    2. I have never tried this method because I know that it is too much of a hassle, but here goes. Buy a whole bunch of small deli or yogurt cups and wire screen. Make each cup into a mini tank with only substrate and a small stick (you can use a rubber band to fasten the wire mesh to the top of the cup). After you receive or hatch your newly hatched nymphs, separate each one into the small cups. Now just feed them fruit flies and mist daily. You will need SEVERAL fly cultures in order to feed each and every nymph. Continue feeding and misting until they are past their second molt (L2).

    Feeding and housing for L2 nymphs through adults:
    Now that you have your nymphs past L2, the hardest period of rearing them is over; except for mating which can be a pain. Anyway, the key here is to provide good food and lot of room to molt. For food you can feed a variety of insects. Like you mentioned, houseflies, moths, mealworms, roaches, spiders, crickets, other mantids, and any other “soft shelled” insect is fine. No beetles or pill bugs, these are hard for the mantid to chew. You want to stay away from things that can hurt you mantid though; things like bees, wasps, certain spiders, and grasshoppers. During the summer, I just go outside to my back yard and catch tons of houseflies with a wide mouth jar, and when night comes I catch moths. Now that it’s winter you won’t find bugs outside, so just go to your local pet shop and buy crickets. Make sure though that you do feed the crickets some food (like oranges, greens, oatmeal, etc.) before feeding them to you mantids. I have read, though not experienced, that feeding mantids crickets directly from the pet shop can kill the mantid because the crickets have been only eating the egg carton cardboard. African Mantids are tough; so don’t be afraid to feed an adult a large sized cricket or fly (like a horse fly).
    You do NOT want to house African Mantids together!!! They will eat each other, even if they are full. You can divide a 10G tank by using pexi-glass, but you can only keep 1 mantid in each section! Each juvenile, sub-adult, or adult needs to be housed separately! Males will attack females and males and vice-versa, so no roommates! Keep branches and/or live plants and/or fake plants and/or rocks in their tank/container so they can have something to walk and hang from. Make sure that a branch does reach the top of the cage because they will want to hang upside-down from the lid/mesh cover. Spray the substrate, branches, and the sides of the tank to add humidity and to provide them with water (they will sometimes drink droplets off the walls of the tank).

    Molting:
    I am not sure how many molts an African Mantid goes through in one lifetime, but I know that it is about 6. The important requirement for a mantid to molt is lots of space. After a molt the matid can get twice as big as it was before. Providing a good amount of humidity will greatly ease the process of molting. Once ready to molt, the mantid will climb to the highest point in the tank, usually this is the mesh lid or a tall branch. Gravity is the mantid’s best friend at this point. It will stand still for a long moment. Then you will see a dorsal split starting at the thorax. After some time, the mantid will emerge from its old exoskeleton. When the mantid is molting, it is extremely important not to bother it or to allow a prey item (such as a cricket) to bother it. If the mantid falls off the high branch or the tank lid it will get suck in the old exoskeleton and will not be able to finish the molt, making death inevitable. The new exoskeleton will be soft and fragile, so the mantid should not be bothered with food for some time.

    You asked when a mantid can mate:
    Both males and females should be sexually mature about 3 weeks after their final molt. If the female and or male does not seem responsive to their mate, then this is an indication that he/she is probably not ready to mate, so you should give him/her another week before attempting to mate. I do not have any experience in mating African Mantids, so I won’t go into “how to breed them”. But, since this is an easy typical starter species it’s mating method is similar to the other starter species, so just look it up. Or search on the links I gave some days ago.

    Well I hope this mini-care sheet has answered some of your questions. If anything mentioned here is unclear or if you have more questions please post them. Also, please post what stage your new African Mantids will be in when you receive them. African mantids are easy to care for and are forgiving of mistakes, so you shouldn’t have too many issues to deal with.

    Good luck and have fun with your new pets!!!

    -Joel
    -Joel from Southern California


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    nepenthes_ak's Avatar
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    THANKS A TON!

    I'm so physicked now! I can get African Budwings (P. agrionina) L2 and L3 for $5 for 1, $20 for 5 or $35 for all 10.

    Do you suggest this species as a beginners as well? I was thinking if I got 5 of them I could split the 10 gallon up 3 ways... and attempt to breed them? Ive read up on breeding, sounds interesting!

    Heck for all you're hard work I might send you one of the ooth's.

    http://i61.photobucket.com/albums/h7...grioninaL5.jpg of his female I beleive

    Cheers

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    Aklys joossa's Avatar
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    Very nice mantids they are! Unfortunately, I have not done much reading on this species, so I am not too familiar with their care requirements. What I summarized above can be generally applied to all mantids though. I have not seen anyone post(on the forum I use) that they they are hard to keep nor that they are easy to keep, so I would have to guess that their care difficulty factor lies somewhere in the middle.

    Don't worry, though even the most difficult mantids' requirements don't compare to the requirements of other pets like Poison Dart Frogs or certain chameleons. Once you get the ball rolling, everything becomes easy.

    L2 and L3 should be fine; the older mantids, the easier their care is.

    Again, good luck, keep us posted, and do your reading
    -Joel from Southern California


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    nepenthes_ak's Avatar
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    I just joined a mantid forum.... kinda semi unorganized but it is a good source of information! Thanks for you're help!

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    RL7836's Avatar
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    Very interesting!

    Quick question: How long do the different species live after the last molt? I know w/ the local mantids, here in the northeast, it's not all that long - but that may be due to weather vs longevity....
    All the best,
    Ron
    You must do the thing you think you cannot do. --- Eleanor Roosevelt

    *** Growlist / Wants / Offers ***
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    Aklys joossa's Avatar
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    In the wild (northern hemisphere), they live typically from Spring until mid to late Fall. Due to cold temps they die, but they have the potential to live longer if weather is favorable. Some ooths hatch in late Spring/early Summer in areas where temperatures in the Fall are not that cold, allowing them to survive until mid Winter. Tropical species vary because they do not have to deal with cold temperatures very often.

    In captivity, life span varies. It mainly depends on the species’ life expectancy, food quality, and maintenance of their desired conditions (humidity, heat, etc.). One thing that is true for most species is that the male will always have a shorter life span than a female of the same species. My female mantis for example, has outlived her male partner for about 2 months now. She is still alive, but she already showing signs that her death is near.

    I have read that a breeder managed to keep a Chinese Mantid alive for 1.5 years, which is a lot of time for a mantid.

    Quote Originally Posted by [b
    Quote[/b] ]I just joined a mantid forum.... kinda semi unorganized but it is a good source of information! Thanks for you're help!
    ^Yeah, it is a bit disorganized, and not that active. The members there are also quite grouchy. If you post a noob or frequently asked question, they will tell you to use the search feature. Other than that, they are really knowledgeable about mantids!
    -Joel from Southern California


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    nepenthes_ak's Avatar
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    It all comes down to my moms Desicion. I might be able to get 2 free tarantulas...

    2 CHILEAN ROSE HAIR TARANTULA

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