Life cycle of Mantis Species from Resaca de la Palma State Parks
From the cross-sectional views (middle section of the ootheca) of the S. carolina (RDLP) oothecae, there was a row of about six eggs
across each ootheca from an anterior view (see Figure 2.2-7) and about 10-11 eggs along the ootheca from a lateral, cross sectional
view (see Figure 2.2-6). On the dorsal side of the ootheca, the seam was formed by the whitish substance that would eventually be the
location where the hatchlings emerged (see Figure 2.2-5 for seam location).
Figure 2.2-6: Cross-section of S. carolina ootheca (lateral view)
|Figure 2.2-7: Cross-section of S. carolina
ootheca (anterior view)
After depositing the ootheca, occasionally the female groomed its cerci by grabbing its abdominal region and bending its thorax into a
‘U’ body shape, as shown in the following photograph.
|Figure 2.2-8: S. carolina grooming after
Wild caught specimen
Oothecae were deposited by the collected S. carolina females just a few days after they were captured. The ootheca of this species
was considerably smaller (~1 cm in length) than the typical S. carolina ootheca (~2 cm in length) found in the warmer Texas region, but
these specimens of species were also smaller than the S. carolina in size, as stated in the previous report (Reference 1). The
oothecae resembled the miniature S. carolina ootheca, having similar texture, color, and shape.
|Figure 2.2-9: Size difference between oothecae deposited by S.
carolina collected from ELG (top) and oothecae deposited by S.
carolina collected from RDLP (bottom)
Almost all the oothecae were deposited between the vertical and horizontal surfaces, which was always along the edge where two
perpendicular surfaces met, i.e. along the area of contact underneath the lid and the vertical container wall (see Figure 2.2-10).
|Figure 2.2-10: S. carolina ootheca deposited in a 5 oz container
In general, the ootheca size and weight became smaller and lighter with latter oothecae deposited. The last ootheca was smaller or
even deformed, primarily due to the aging process of the female mantis. Older females were incapable of developing more eggs. See
Figure 2.4-5 in the later section for ootheca comparison, where ootheca SO4b was the last ootheca deposited and was significantly
smaller than the typical ootheca size, such as SO1f.
The S. carolina adult females from RDLP, did not deposit ootheca as often as the S. carolina adult females, collected from ELG. The
reasons were not thoroughly identified, but a possibility may be due to the lack of interest in food because of their skittish nature. There
was no apparent shortage of food supply or the availability of food.
Among the wild collected adult females, only SF1 actively deposited ootheca during the period of captivity, with an average timeframe of
one ootheca every 10 days (see Table 2.3-1). Except for SF5, which never produced any ootheca, the other adult females were fertile,
but did not build oothecae as often as SF1.
Captive bred specimen
The S. carolina adult females, from the new generation, were housed in 32oz plastic containers lined with paper toweling with a stick
inside each container. One adult female (Specimen 1RS3 – see Table 2.5-1) deposited an ootheca (see Figure 2.2-11) before pairing
up with another male. Since this species has never reproduced by parthenogenesis, the first laid ootheca would not yield any
hatchlings. The infertile ootheca looked similar to the fertile ootheca, so it was visually impossible to determine the fertility of the
ootheca by appearance alone.
|Figure 2.2-11: Infertile ootheca by 1RS3
The infertile S. carolina ootheca was deposited on the paper towel along the side of the wall in no particularly concealed location. The
same adult female was mated after the first infertile ootheca was laid. A stick was later introduced into the container with the mated
female to determine if the female preferred depositing oothecae on the stick. However, the same female continued to deposit
oothecae along the edge of the lid, preferring to build oothecae in hidden locations instead.
One captive bred adult female deposited an ootheca underneath the paper towel near the bottom of the container. This indicated that
the priority for that adult female was to place an ootheca in a hidden location, rather than the safe hatching of the ootheca, as hatchling
nymphs would stick to the bottom of the container before freeing themselves from their membranous sac (see Section 2.4 for more