Life cycle of Mantis Species from Resaca de la Palma State Parks
One deposited ootheca was found attached to an adjacent fertile ootheca (see Figure 2.2-12). This demonstrated that the adult female
preferred depositing ootheca to match the surrounding color of her ootheca (except for the first ootheca laid, where the female
attempted to deposit an ootheca in a concealed location).
Figure 2.2-12: Group of fertile oothecae by 1RS3
Generally, the mated S. carolina adult female began building oothecae within a few days after mating with the male, especially when
the female was well fed. However, the female who had never mated continued feeding, but delayed in producing ootheca for as long
as possible. When the infertile female was continuously fed, it eventually deposited infertile oothecae.
Based upon these observations, it appears that the female eventually build oothecae after 25-30 days of heavy feeding without mating
with any S. carolina adult males. The reason for the impediment could be caused by the female’s attempt to prevent the wasting of
eggs by depositing infertile oothecae. As time passed, it was inevitable for the female to dislodge eggs in the form of ootheca. This
may be the result of overdue eggs within the abdomen creating more harm to the female mantis than if the eggs were not dislodge, as
with egg bound issues seen in other mantis species.
2.3 Ootheca incubating
Together with the only S. carolina ootheca collected in the park and the first five oothecae produced by the captive females, all six
oothecae were left outdoors in plastic containers and maintained in acrylic cage (see Figure 2.3-1) starting on November 28th, 2010,
outside of my home in Katy, Texas, with mid-60s in the afternoon and mid-40s during the night for winter season. Whenever the
temperature dropped below 40°F, the acrylic cage containing the oothecae were brought into the home to simulate similar weather
conditions in Brownsville, which rarely fell below 40°F. Humidity, during the winter months usually lingered below 50%.
Figure 2.3-1: Ootheca incubating cage
Outdoor incubation was abruptly terminated on December 8, 2010 when the ootheca SOx unexpectedly hatched (see Figure 2.3-2),
during the time when all the other oothecae were temporarily maintained indoors, due to an extreme cold front. At that time, the
oothecae were placed in a dark, cool room with a temperature of 75°F since the outdoor temperature, between Dec 6th and Dec 7th of
2010, was below 35°F. The unique outburst hatching from ootheca SOx suggested that the ootheca of this particular strain did not
require a cold interval to induce hatching.
From that day, the rest of the incubated oothecae were kept indoors at room temperatures of 75-80°F with the humidity around
50-60%. A mist of water applied to the oothecae every other day also helped to maintain the humidity level. Further oothecae produced
after December 8th were not exposed to outdoor weather, but were kept indoors for the entire incubating period until they hatched.
Figure 2.3-2: SOx surprise hatching
The following table presents the oothecae incubating data.
Table 2.3-1: S. carolina oothecae incubating info
Ootheca Date deposited Outdoor incubation dates Remarks
SOx NA 11/28/10 – 12/08/10 Wild collected
SO1a 10/31/10 11/28/10 – 12/08/10 Deposited by female 1
SO2 11/4/10 11/28/10 – 12/08/10 Deposited by female 2
SO3 11/4/10 11/28/10 – 12/08/10 Deposited by female 3
SO4a 11/8/10 11/28/10 – 12/08/10 Deposited by female 4
SO4b 11/15/10 11/28/10 – 12/08/10 Deposited by female 4
SO1b 12/05/10 12/05/10 – 12/08/10 Deposited by female 1
SO1c 12/20/10 Kept indoors Deposited by female 1
SO1d 12/29/10 Kept indoors Deposited by female 1
SO1e 01/10/11 Kept indoors Deposited by female 1
SO1f 01/20/11 Kept indoors Deposited by female 1
SO1g 01/31/11 Kept indoors Deposited by female 1
SO1h 02/12/11 Kept indoors Deposited by female 1
SO1i 02/21/11 Kept indoors Deposited by female 1
SO1j 02/28/11 Kept indoors Deposited by female 1
SO1k 03/12/11 Kept indoors Deposited by female 1
1. Only the first seven oothecae experienced outdoor incubating conditions. Oothecae were never left outdoors when temperatures fell below 40F.
All other oothecae produced after December 8th, 2010 were kept indoors.
2. Ootheca was collected in the wild rendering the original date of deposition undocumented.
The following table presents the duration of incubating periods for all the oothecae.
Table 2.3-2: S. carolina oothecae incubating periods and number of hatchlings
Ootheca Date hatched Total incubation days Number of hatchlings
SOx 12/08/10  NA  33
SO2 12/14/10 41 42
SO3 12/14/10 41 42
SO1a 12/20/10 51 55
SO4a 12/20/10 43 40
SO1b 01/20/11 47 42
SO1c 02/06/11 49 33
SO1d 02/15/11 49 40
SO1e 02/24/11 46 36
SO1f 03/04/11 44 44
SO1g 03/13/11 42 31
SO1h 03/21/11 38 34
SO1i 03/26/11 34 38
SO1j 04/01/11 33 28
SO1k 04/09/11 29 8
1. Ootheca was collected in the wild, so the original date of depositing was unknown.
2. Predicted date due to unexpected hatching.
Except for the wild collected ootheca, where the exact deposit date of the ootheca was not known, the rest of the captive oothecae
deposit and hatch dates were recorded. Based on the data collected in Table 2.3-2, all oothecae required an incubating period from a
minimum of 29 days to a maximum of 51 days. To some extent, the incubating period appeared to be related to the temperature. Texas
experienced one of its coldest winters in 2010, which started from the middle of December 2010 and continued until the end of
February 2011. Although the indoor temperature was regulated, the room temperature seldom deviated above 75°F, which accounted
for the longer incubating period for the oothecae to hatch within that cooler timeframe.
The first seven oothecae (as stated in Table 2.3-1), that were exposed to cooler temperatures for a brief period of time, did not have a
significantly prolonged incubating period. Details on hatching will be presented in the following section.