Life cycle of Mantis Species from Resaca de la Palma State Parks (Part 14)
Occasionally during mating, the female managed to grab the male’s head and feed on it. However, the decapitated male continued to
mate with the female and stay connected as long as possible, but usually ended up by being consumed entirely (see Figure 2.10-5).
Figure 2.10-5: Cannibalism during S. carolina
Once the male disconnected from the female, it usually fluttered away, but some males remained on the female’s back, and a few
were eventually eaten by the female (see Figure 2.10-6). The reason for the male remaining on the female after mating was unknown.
It could be speculated that the male was trying to fend off any other competing males attempting to pair up with the female to ensure
that its own genes could be passed on to the next generation.
Figure 2.10-6: Cannibalism by adult female S. carolina after pairing
Most of the well fed females showed no interest in cannibalizing on the advancing male, especially a receptive female that displayed
signs of releasing pheromones by curling up the abdomen. However, a well fed mantis could still devour the male after mating. In
most cases, the adult female viewed the pairing male both as a fertilizing agent and as prey. Being an opportunistic predator, the
pairing partner was often perceived as an easy meal by the female. Some females have been seen to mate with the adult male in as
little as 2-3 days after the last molt, but that only occurred in the net cage where a group of mantids were reared from hatchlings to
adults together.

Two adult males, but no females were collected from RDLP. However, neither male survived for long in captivity. Both had likely
suffered from the cold temperatures the day before their capture. BMM2 died the following day while BMM1 lived for only a few more
days in captivity and did not accept any of the feeder insects (house fly or fruit fly) provided.
Figure 3.0-1: BMM1
Figure 3.0-2: BMM1
Figure 3.0-3: BMM1

4.1        Stagmomantis carolina.

In total, there were about six months of captivity data collected for the life cycle of Stagmomantis carolina. The most demanding task
was recording the growth of the mantids while observing the living habits of each individual. Capturing events such as hatching,
molting, and cannibalism were random acts of chance and luck, because such events only lasted for a short period of time. The
following summarized my experience in the rearing and breeding of S. carolina in captivity.


•        Four out of the total five Stagmomantis carolina adult females collected displayed  signs of difficulties in adapting to the captive
environment. Loss of appetite and infrequent ootheca deposition plagued the group, except for SF1. All wild collected specimens
appeared skittish and nervous especially in my presence, but that was usually typical for wild collected mantis. The longest living
specimen was SF1, which was the only adult female that continued to feed vigorously and deposited the most oothecae among the
•        The size and shape of the oothecae from the wild collected and the captive bred adult females were very similar (see Figure 4.1-
1), which was also comparable to the lone ootheca collected at RDLP.
Figure 4.1-1: S. carolina ootheca seam
•        Most of the oothecae were deposited in a hidden area between the lid and wall of the container, or underneath the towel paper,
instead of the wood sticks provided in the container.
•        A cold period, in which the embryos were quiescent, was not required for the ootheca to hatch. All the nymphs hatched out in a
matter of hours after an incubation period of about 30-50 days (depending on temperature), unlike the typical S. carolina ootheca from
temperate regions where the oothecae overwintered for about 4-5 months before hatching that periodically occurred over a 2-3 week
•        Hatching rates normally remained within the range of 30-45 nymphs for most of the oothecae, except for the last few, which were
produced by the aging adult females.
•        Unlike the aggressive nature of the typical S. carolina, not all nymphs showed a willingness to capture prey and some appeared
to starve to death. Only the daring nymphs, capable of hunting down the prey, continued to survive.
•        The majority of the mortality during early nymphal stage was mainly due to starvation. Casualty from cannibalism was more
common among nymphs after the 3rd instar. Mismolting and unknown sickness minimally contributed to the total number of
•        All the selected nymphs appeared to molt almost on the same day during the early nymphal stages, but the period of each instar
varied as the nymphs grew older, even when other environmental factors, such as temperature, humidity, light intensity, etc. during
captivity, were kept constant. One of the specimens (1RS3) matured to an adult more than a week earlier than the rest.
•        All the selected nymphs matured to adults after seven molts exactly, and all turned out to be female.  
•        All captive bred S. carolina matured into dark brown in color morph, regardless of the color morphs of the collected female (where
three of the specimens were green).
•        In general, the captive bred S. carolina adults were about 2-3 mm longer than the wild collected specimens. However, the
average size of 43-45 mm from the new generation of adult females was still smaller than the average S. carolina adult females found
along Texas coastal area (see Figure 4.1-2, Figure 4.1-3, and Figure 4.1-4 comparing the new generation of S. carolina adults from
ELG and RDLP).
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To be continue - Part 15(END)