Life cycle of Mantis Species from Resaca de la Palma State Parks
(Part 8)
2.5-12: 4th molt
Figure 2.5-13: 5th instar
Figure 2.5-14: 5th instar
Figure 2.5-15: 5th molt
Figure 2.5-16: 6th instar
Figure 2.5-17: 6th instar
Figure 2.5-18: 6th molt
Figure 2.5-19: 7th instar
Figure 2.5-20: 7th instar
Figure 2.5-21: 7th molt
Figure 2.5-22: 8th instar
(adult female)
Figure 2.5-23: 8th instar
(adult female)
Based on Table 2.5-1, the S carolina nymphs went through seven (7) molts to become adults (see Figure 2.5-26). All surviving mantids
developed into females. Therefore, the actual number of molts for males maturing into adults was unknown.

From the growth table, the highest percentage of growth occurred during the 2nd molt, when all the selected five nymphs attained
about 50% of their growth length from the 2nd instar to the 3rd instar. The growth percentage remained within the 15% - 30% range for
the other molts. However, there could have been a few other factors that affected the growth duration, such as temperature, food
availability, light intensity, humidity, etc., but these conditions were not part of the study applied to this group, since the selected
individual mantids were kept in the same environmental conditions. The adult females reached an average size of about 43 mm in
length, which was slightly longer than the average size of the wild collected specimen (see Figure 2.5-24).
Figure 2.5-24: Size comparisons between captive bred – 1RS3 (right)
and wild caught – SF1 (left) adult females
During the process of documenting the growth, two of the mantises failed to molt and perished. 1RS2 mismolted while molting into
the 6th instar (see Figure 2.5-26), and 1RS5 accidentally dropped onto the lid containing honey for feeding the houseflies. In both
cases, the 16 oz plastic containers were used. All the nymphs were moved to the taller 32 oz plastic containers after the incidents.
Figure 2.5-25: Mismolting of 1RS2
The duration between each molt varied for different nymph stages. The first molt took approximately two weeks, while the second molt
only took 10 days. The rest of the molts, until the subadult stage, took about two weeks, but the last molt was the most time consuming
and took close to three weeks for both 1RS1 and 1RS4. However, it only took 1RS2 two weeks to mature into an adult.
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To be continue - Part 9