and then there were three

By Steve

Ready for battle!

There are three mantis’ left including the one pictured above. I named him Zorak after the character in Space Ghost Coast to Coast because honestly, he’s a jerk. When I still had the terrarium with the dozens of hatch-lings I placed him inside so that he’d have more room to move and climb. Unfortunately the first thing he did was attack another mantis and then devour him while the others looked on terrified. It wasn’t long until the other mantis’ paired off and then battled, the victor consuming the loser. In a matter of minutes I had lost half my manti, and I blame it all on Zorak here. He’s just a nasty, blood thirsty, cricket destroying monster.

I admit it’s fun letting him out of his container and watching him quickly descend on a helpless cricket and then proceed to eat it alive! The two larger manti are in their later stages of life and have started to develop wings which do not look large enough to permit flight. I’m hoping one is a male and the other female so I can have another egg for next season. Alix took some great HD video of Zorak eating his prey that I’ll post in a few days. It’s pretty disturbing but fascinating to see all four of his mandibles tear and shred their way through the exoskeleton of the cricket until it reaches the creamy center!

Om nom nom nom!

The smallest of the manti shed his skin today and he’s a beautiful emerald green color. The two larger ones are that dried leave color you can see in the picture and their abdomens are a very menacing violet red. I don’t know if it has anything to do with their diet or not, but the little one is still eating fruit flys while the bigger ones are only eating crickets. More updates soon!

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