Monday, November 07, 2005

Praying Mantis Fighting Skills

Raising praying mantises can be a fascinating experience provided you have the time, but if you plan on raising them indoors for pets you might want to keep only one or two to start with as finding food sources can be very time consuming, especially when they are first hatched. Food sources for the young mantids are more easily found after the seasonal rain stops and the temperature outside become constant, once the daily highs reach 70 degrees F. You might want to first learn about raising crickets and vinegar or fruit flies. It is possible to keep them from hatching to early thru refrigeration.
One of the most interesting things I have enjoyed about the adult praying mantises besides the their ability to swivel their heads 180 degrees, are certain qualities about their eyes which seem almost mystical in that the pupil of the eye always seem to be pointed towards your view, but you can not see it move, it is just there when you change positions. It has to do with the structure of their eyes, but it is hard to understand when you see it. Their eyes also will turn red-brown in the dark.
These photos are one of two adult female praying mantises, which share the same aquarium. If one gets too close to the other, they will assume this posture, and defend their space. They might stay like this for hours till one of them attacks the other or until one or both back away from each other. If they do fight it is very brief and does not come down to fatal blows as they are equally matched in size, age and close to being equal in fighting skills, and usually results in one of them retreating to the bottom of the cage. The outcome might be different if they were not so well fed. In the case of male and female sharing the same cage at this age, the male would be lucky to escape with his life or without serious wounds and its only a matter of time before he becomes a meal.
One of these picture shows an ootheca (egg case) which she attached to a branch earlier in the season.