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How to hatch a mantid case?


Staff member
HELP!! I just received an egg case in the mail! Haven't got the slightest idea which species it is yet (until friend comes online) but the case looks kinda dry.

Can I keep it inside the terrarium where the N. adnata is?

Thanks loads!!!
Can you post a picture of the egg case?

It should be fine in a Nepenthes terrarium as long as it's nice and humid, some people say to mist the egg case every day but I don't cos if it gets too wet it can rot. As long as there is condensation on the glass it's humid enough. Mantid oothecas can be problematic, too warm, too cold, too wet, too dry, etc. and they don't hatch. But give it a few months (or until it looks bad) before giving up on it.

Just incase nobody told you, look for the little "zipper" or knitted groove on the front of the egg case and hang it or hot glue it to a stick so the groove faces downward so the babies can use gravity to "slide" out of their cells in the egg as easily as possible.
Wouldn't hot glue like...kill the ones from heat that are closest to the hot glue? :0o:
I should have explained that technique better: put hot glue on the stick (not the egg case itself) let it cool a tad and set the rear of the case slightly into the cooling "hot" glue. There is mostly "foam" (padding) on the rear side of an egg case, the little ones are usually in the front half of the case so emergence is easier/faster. They won't be harmed by the tiny spot of glue - you don't need to slather it on, just a chocolate chip sized spot. You can also use superglue if you're fast but the egg case will sometimes just soak it up if it's a real "foamy" egg case without a smooth surface to adhere it to.
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If the ootheca has a piece of stick/branch that it's stuck to glue that part or tie some string or thread around it & hang it from that
If it doesn't have a piece of branch attached to it you can take a needle & thread & thread it through the top / No reason to go deep
Like Swords said it's just foam

A few ways I use to like doing them

Hang it from the lid of a tall deli cup
I liked to put something like a piece of screen of some twigs in the cup so they had something to cling to once they hatched
Instead of misting it you can put a wet paper towel or cotton ball in the cup to keep the humidity up

Another method I liked to use was to was a paper bag {Small lunch type paper bag}
Use enough string so you can pull it out of the bag then roll the top of the bag close so the ootheca is suspended in the middle of the bag
Then I would just keep it on a warm window sill
You can tell when they hatch because you can hear them scratching & climbing on the bag

But honestly I would kind of wait till you find out what Sp. it's from as different ones will require different care / conditions

Good Luck
Thanks everyone for the help thus far. Well, friend said that he found it stuck to his car antenna!! And because I hatched some mantids from the common local species, he thought I should know what to do. Well, we live ~5000km away from each other. LOL
OMG...I took a close look at the egg case and saw the babies/larvae/??? probing from inside. Or was I imagining things?!?!? :0o:

Anyway, there seems to be a little "hook" on one end so I used a thread to hang it from the N. adnata vine. Please let me know if the method is fine.

The terrarium a.k.a. bread box.

The egg case. Anyone has any idea which species it might be?

Cool, I haven't seen an egg case shaped like that exactly but I don't have any Singapore species either. As long as the slit it is vertical or facing down it should be OK.

I've never seen larvae moving through the case, at least you know SOMETHING is alive in there. Are there any holes in the egg case? There are certain flies and things who will lay eggs on a mantis or mantis egg case and their larvae go in and attack the baby mantids or infect the living mantid and emerge later... eew!
Thanks, Josh.

I thought I saw the panels on the underside (where the hatchlings emerge) "throb". No holes on the egg case so it might really have been the larvae wriggling around...erm, mantids do go through the larva stage don't they?
  • #10
Just an update...the ooth got a little mould on it so I've removed it from the terrarium. Heard from friend that he is experiencing the driest weather at the moment. Yikes...
  • #11
Yeah, it can take some experimenting to find the right mix of humidity & ventilation that will keep the egg case from getting moldy. If you let the case dry out the mold should go away with no harm done. A jar with a mesh lid partly covered with packing tape is what I use for egg cases.

Do you have fruit fly cultures going? Drosophillia melanogaster (small) and D. heydei (large) will be needed for their first month or so until they can take on very small crickets, house flies and moths. It's good to have both sizes of fruit flies on hand incase the babies are afraid of the larger flies. If you don't have access to the flightless fruit flies in Singapore you can catch the local flying kind with just a few banana peels and some old fruit in a jar and start a culture with wild fruit flies and culture them the same as the laboratory fruit flies (you can find culture medium recipes online). With flying fruit flies/house flies you just have to remember to put the container in the freezer for a couple minutes before transferring them so they can't fly for a few minutes, just hop.

Mantids go through some sort of embryonic stage but when they emerge they are fully formed mantids - just ant sized and moving at the fastest speeds that they will ever move! Be forewarned they can end up running everywhere if you get a mass hatching. The first time I hatched a Chinese Mantis ooth and unscrewed the lid on my hatching jar I had baby mantids leaping out of the jar and running everywhere! I had no idea they would be so fast moving and with 100+ running in every direction....:0o: It seems to be the hatchlings who are the fast movers (baby stick & leaf insects are the same way) but after they've been out a few days they calm down to their standard level of near inactivity. Once they find a spot they like they will stay there for days moving not much more than their head or to preen and groom themselves sort of like a cat does. lol
  • #12

I'll post pics tomorrow. I managed to separate 13 of them...two died on the egg case (kinda stuck). Not sure how many escaped 'cos I found one about 3ft away (left the egg case danging in a 1.5 litre bottle uncapped to dry out from the mould) and another in one my Cephalotus pot.

The question is, how long can they survive before they need food? I am looking for homes for them. Peeps with aphid infested plants...or fruit flies infested home.
  • #13
That's cool! You will need appropriately sized food for them as soon as possible - at the latest Monday if you aren't planning to put them outside in the garden to fend for themselves. I feed mine everyday (or make sure there is a fly buzzing around in there if they do get hungry) but they can eat every other day or two at the least. There are pics on the mantid forum of someone getting their baby mantids to eat at a tiny glob of canned cat food but I've never tried it myself since mantids are predators, not scavengers but there were pics. Do not use ants to feed the babies, the ants can bite & sting.

While you are trying to acquire food be sure and very lightly mist their container so they can get something to drink. They will need a drink like that every day even if they do have food - try not to spray the babies directly at their size you can drown them. I don't think they will do anything to aphids, too small and non-moving enough for the mantids to notice them.

If you have aphids you can try Lady Bugs which look like this:
(mantids won't eat ladybugs)
  • #14
Currently, they are in their own tiny "paradise" with a turf of live sphagnum moss for moisture. :blush: I am trying to get baby crickets for them either today or







  • #15
Good luck with them - baby mantids are always so cute! :)

I haven't ever seen a nymph that looks quite like that (looks like there is a dark stripe down the back?) if you post your pics on the mantid forum I linked to earlier someone there may be able to ID it for you.

I don't know if you'll be able to get them to take pinhead size crickets but it's worth a try. See if you can get some fruit fly cultures, often they sell them as live food for betta fish and baby reptiles so check with both fish and reptile shops. It's funny how scared the baby mantids can be of prey. Once they make it through their first molts they are braver in tackling food but that's about 2-3 weeks after hatching and heavy feeding. Mine don't seem to go for crickets at all - they will watch them but never go for them even if they are right there at arms reach. If I try to hand feed them crickets they swat the crickets out of the tongs, but if I offer blue bottle house flies or moths on the tongs they grab them and start eating immediately.
  • #16
Yup, I just posted the images there. I can't believe that my account with the mantid forum is still alive!!
  • #17
They are the CUTEST little things EVER!! OMG :p

  • #18
The moss is OK for humidity but for them to get a proper drink do a tiny mist along one side wall so there are miniature droplets, they will walk and drink with their head down licking at the droplets. I do not believe they will suck moisture from moss, never seen them do it, only lick it if there are water droplets on it. The water droplets must be very small like from a hand held plant mister that has never had fertilizer or chemicals in it. I water my adult mantids the same way, misting their enclosure and they lick the droplets that land on them and the leaves if they feel thirsty.
  • #19
Those are the cutest babies ever! :love: