We now have about 200 tiny mantid (the other name for mantis) in our butterfly house, waiting to be fed. These guys are about 1/2 inch long and are already doing awesome mantis things like waiting at a respectful distance before they eat eachother.
Can you see the ones that are emerging from the egg case? They are nymphs. Mantids have an incomplete metamorphosis life cycle. It starts with nymph, but they are only in that phase for a few hours while their exoskeleton dries and then they look like tiny versions of their mama. (As you can see with the one sitting on top of the egg case, already in ‘prayer’ position. ) Slowly over the next few weeks they will ‘molt’ out of their skins and slowly get larger and larger.
You need to feed mantis in the first 48 hours. I am going to get them some fruit fly larvae as they get bigger, but for our first feeding I am choosing to use raw hamburger. I saw this trick on Instructables under “feeding baby praying mantises” and so far it works!
We had only one of our two egg cases hatch and I am already worried that the second egg case is going to end up being a ‘food case’ if they don’t come out soon. They will be much smaller than our already growing little guys and most likely, the older mantids will just hang out while they hatch and eat them. lol! There are already three that like to sit on the egg case like it’s a hunting perch.
Our Praying Mantis lapbooks are nearly finished. They will, of course, be pictures of our mantis in the lapbook once we get it done. Hopefully better ones than these. They had to be taken through the screen because the babies all wanted to rush out of the butterfly house as I opened it to take pictures! Sneaky little things that I very much do not want loose in my house. lol!
Here’s a couple more websites that will help if you ever decide to raise your own mantids!
- This has a whole list of worksheets that are related to raising, breeding, and keeping Praying Mantis.
- A simple life cycle diagram that will help with filling out lapbook and worksheets on life cycle.