Life cycle of Mantis Species from Resaca de la Palma State Parks
(Part 6)
The brief cooling period had no apparent effect on the normal hatch rate or incubation period. The hatching rate decreased, especially
among the last few oothecae produced by the same female, which was common since the female probably exhausted all available
spermatozoa, while the quality of her eggs declined as the adult female aged. However, all the nymphs that successfully managed to
hatch and break free from the ootheca were strong and robust.

The following photographs present the dimensions and weight measurements of an ootheca.
Figure 2.4-6: S. carolina ootheca
Figure 2.4-7: Ootheca (SO1i) weight
measurement before hatching
Figure 2.4-8: Ootheca (SO1e) weight
measurement after hatching
Table 2.4-1 provides the dimensions and weights data taken for each ootheca deposited by the S. carolina females

                                                                     Table 2.4-1: S. carolina oothecae details
Ootheca #        Length (mm)        Width (mm)       Weight (grams)        Weight (grams)
                                                                                 Before hatching        After hatching
SOx                           10                               5                        NA [1]                        0.04
SO1a                        12                                7                       0.18                          0.07
SO2                           15                                6                      NA [1]                        0.05
SO3                          16                                 7                       NA [1]                        0.06
SO4a                        12                                7                        0.17                        0.07
SO4b [2]                   5                                  5                        0.03                         NA [3]
SO1b                         11                                7                        0.15                           0.04
SO1c                        12                                7                        0.14                            0.05
SO1d                        11                                7                       0.15                           0.05
SO1e                        11                                7                        0.12                          0.03
SO1f                        12                                7                        0.16                           0.05
SO1g                        10                                7                        0.10                         0.05
SO1h                        10                                7                        0.14                         0.04
SO1i                        10                                7                        0.13                          0.04
SO1j                        10                                7                        0.10                          0.05
SO1k                        6                                6                           0.06                        0.04
1.        Ootheca that hatched before measurements were taken.
2.        Misshapenly small ootheca.
3.        Ootheca that failed to hatch.

The oothecae of this strain were smaller than the typical S. carolina, as stated in the previous section and the previous report
(Reference 1). The height of most of the oothecae was between 10-12 mm high, while the width was approximately 7 mm. The
average weight of the oothecae was approximately 0.14-0.16 gm before hatching and 0.04-0.05 gm after hatching. Based on the
hatching rate, a rough estimate of the weight for each nymph was about 0.002 gm. In general, the larger (and heavier) oothecae
produced higher hatch rates, due to an increase in fertile eggs within the ootheca.

2.5        Growth

S. carolina nymphs continued to grow by molting. Generally, every mantis undergoes about 6-9 molts before reaching adulthood
(when the wings appear). Once it has matured into the adult stage, a mantis will no longer molt and instead, will remain the same
body size for the duration of its lifespan.

Five nymphs were randomly selected out from the first group of hatchlings (from SOx ootheca) for the purpose of growth study and molt
count. From the 1st instar to the 3rd instar, the selected specimens were kept in a 16 oz plastic container (see Figure 2.1-7) with a
ventilated fabric lid (see Figure 2.1-11), instead of aluminum mesh lid, to retain the fruit flies. After the 3rd instar, all specimens were
able to feed on houseflies, thereby eliminating the need for a cloth lid. An aluminum mesh lid was used to provide better ventilation
and to allow for more effective water misting. In all containers housing S. carolina, paper towel lined the inside of the container wall
from the top of the lid to the bottom of the container. The paper towel provided better footing for the mantids (see Figure 2.1-9).

All the specimens were later rehoused in 32 oz plastic containers, which were taller after an incident involving 1RS5, who suffered a
mismolting casualty due to the lack of height in the previous 16 oz container. The taller container had the same set up as the 16 oz
plastic container but provided more height (see Figure 2.5-1).
Figure 2.5-1: 32 oz plastic container
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To be continue - Part 7