Praying mantises only eat live prey. It is therefore necessary to provide for a supply of food by another breeding of insects, by catches or by the purchase of insects in animal stores.
It is easy to catch adult mantises because they move slowly and are harmless to humans. We can easily distinguish the males, smaller, from the large females swollen with eggs. The harvest of these females makes it possible to observe the manufacture of egg cells and the laying.
Care of the ready-to-lay female
Place a female in a good-sized container with a screened opening. Install in the container a branch placed vertically to serve as a support for the insect. Keep the temperature of the container between 20 and 25 ° C.
An adult mantis should be fed every three days. The insects offered (flies, mosquitoes, crickets, cockroaches, butterflies, etc.) will be alive and less than or equal in size to the mantis. Before spawning, the female eats a lot and needs to be fed more frequently. Provide it with water by spraying the inner wall of the container about once a week or by placing a lid filled with water at the bottom of the vivarium.
When ready to lay eggs, the mantis makes an ootheca (or more) on the branch or on the wall of the container. The insect dies a few weeks after the last laying.
Without having a captive female, you can harvest eggshells found in vegetation, in autumn and winter, on stems or branches. Make sure to place the ootheca in the correct orientation to promote the emergence of young people.
When the larvae appear, feed them abundantly to prevent them from devouring each other. At first, offer them small prey (aphids, fruit flies, nascent crickets). The young can be isolated in small containers after the second moult. For starters, empty jam or yogurt jars that are closed with a mosquito net will do the trick. A branch should be placed in each container to serve as a support during the moult. The distance between the upper end of the branch and the base of the container should be at least three times the length of the insect.
Adults can mate two to three weeks after the last molt. Offer them as much food as they want for several days before bringing the partners together. If she is hungry, the female can eat the male before mating, which can last for hours. Provide prey to the female throughout this period. Remove the male as soon as the partners separate.
Regularly clean juvenile and adult breeding containers by removing dead insects and other debris with tongs. If necessary, transfer the insects to another container for cleaning. Praying mantises should be handled gently. You can move them while they are in their holder or let them mount on your hand. Avoid dropping them even if they suddenly try to bite you.