SECTION 12 : Special Techniques when raising mantids indoors
You can use special techniques for speeding the growth of mantids.
A - Speed growing mantids : You can get most mantids to maturity in as little as 10 weeks! Keeping mantids at higher temperatures will take more attention and skill. To get a mantis to full maturity in ten weeks you must keep the mantis at 85 degrees F and feed them more often. You must use the moisture release method mentioned previously by placing paper towels or a sponge to the rim of a container and keeping it moist. Change the moisture substrate more often, about once every 5 days to prevent bacteria which can more easily form at higher temperatures. Mantids kept at this higher range will molt more often so be sure to monitor molt dates. You can also raise mantids more slowly by keeping them between 72 and 74 degrees. Slow grown mantids live longer.
B - Trick to mating some mantis species where males mature sooner : Some males will mature weeks before the female even completes the final molt! This is a problem for a mantis keep who has only one male and he is maturing more quickly than the female mates. To solve the problem, place the male into a cooler area and feed only about half of the normally consumed amount of food for the species. Place the female into a warmer area and feed her all she will eat. By sustaining the male by extending the life span by the slow growth technique, you will preserve the male and bring on maturity with the female. The female is ready to mate in 12 to 14 days. Once you have fined tuned your skills and if you have kept good records of growth habits for the species you raise, you will be able to determine the sex of your mantids and time induce molts in the females sooner so that there is no risk of loss of the male before the female matures and is ready for mating.
C - Rebreeding females with males for assured viability of the final ootehcae produced : While it is commonly accepted that once a female is mated she is fertile. This is partially true. However, the last few oothecae produced by the female may be inferior to the first ones. To help improve the viability of the final oothecae, you can re-mate the female with the same male or another younger more healthy male which has completed the final molt more recently. It is also a good idea to allow the deteriorating female to consume the male. The nutirents will improve the condition of the female and also help produce stronger, helathier offspring. Re-breeding the female may also have biological effects on the female to extend her lifespan like some sort of magic elixer. It is not required that you re-mate the females, but it is a good idea.
D - Mating males with more than one mate : You may find yourself with a few female mantids and only one male. If you are serious about raising mantids, this will likely happen if you have rare species. You can feed the females very well and allow the male to mate. You would need to supervise the mating and make sure the male escapes the female. You may have to assist the male away from the female to assure his escape. You should offer the male as much food as he will eat. The male should be moved to another room, seperate from the females so that he is not immune to the pheremones the females will emit. After 24 hours, the male may be introduced to a second female. You can mate the male with as many females as you wish untill he is eaten or dies from old age. Make sure there is a 24 hour pause between matings.
E - Color manipulation : If you keep a mantis on a green plant with a high level of humidity it is likely that the mantis will be of a green color. If you keep a mantis in a drier enviorment on a wooden or other brown or tan surface, the mantis will most likely be of brown or tan coloration. Some mantids will not respond to the enviroment in the first generation, so this must be a partially genetic, partially enviormental factor. Some mantids respond to the color in the first generation, likely becuase the parent mantids grew in a similiar enviorment. Some mantids that are kept on only white or clear surfaces will take on a blue color while others are nearly translucent or a color that is very hard to distinguish from the surface on which the mantids usually sits. A few mantids that are kept in plastic containers with no kind of green surfaces inside will be of a turquoise or light blue color. Experiment with several specimens in several enviroments and you may discover new facts as this is a little known area of the praying mantis hooby. Most people have the instinct to provide green plants for the mantis, which is fine, but it is fun to experiment!