Are you thinking about introducing a Chinese Mantis (Tenodera aridifolia) to your Asain-themed enclosure, but don’t know where to start?
Well look no further:
This guide will provide you with the necessary information to ensure your potential pet praying mantis has the proper care and living conditions required for optimal health and well-being.
From food and nutrition to housing and egg care, this guide will provide you with the information needed for the proper care of T. aridifolia.
|6 to 12 Months
|2.5 to 4 in
|Minimum Tank Size
What Are Chinese Mantis?
Chinese Mantis, scientifically known as Tenodera aridifolia – part of the Mantidae family – is a species of praying mantis found in East Asia.
The common name “Chinese Mantis” is thought to have come from its appearance in Chinese artwork and statuary for centuries.
Chinese Mantis have a narrow shape and coloration that ranges from light or dark green, to brown and gray.
These attractive and harmless mantids can grow up to several inches in length. Unlike other mantids, they are social and can live in groups.
What Does Chinese Mantis Look Like?
Tenodera aridifolia ranges from dark green to tan in color and typically reaches sizes between 2.5 to 4 inches long with females being larger.
The front of their head is triangular in shape, providing them with highly acute vision.
These predators have unusually long and flexible necks, allowing them to rotate their heads 270 degrees.
They have five major segments on each of their legs in addition to three smaller segments known as the tibial spurs, which allow them to climb onto plants and other surfaces easily.
In addition to their impressive size and agility, Chinese Mantis also have enlarged forelegs called raptorial legs, which are modified to grasp and capture their prey.
Benefits Of Using Chinese Mantis
Used as a beneficial insect predator in a vivarium, Tenodera aridifolia can help eliminate or reduce insect populations such as aphids.
Not only are they effective at controlling pest populations, but they are also low-maintenance and aesthetically pleasing additions to any terrarium.
Chinese Mantis can also benefit other species by helping to maintain a balance in the environment and reducing intraspecific competition for mates and resources.
By providing the proper care and environment, mantis can be fantastic additions to many types of vivariums and make great pets as well.
Chinese Mantis Facts
Chinese Mantis are shy solitary insects that feed primarily on creatures such as roaches, crickets, and flies.
As an omnivore, they can be fed both live prey and non-living food items.
The lifespan of a Tenodera aridifolia can vary depending on environmental conditions but can reach up to one year in ideal conditions.
Breeding is relatively easy in ideal conditions, requiring male and female mantis to share an enclosure to lay their eggs and hatch new nymphs.
Tenodera aridifolia is a species of praying mantis native to China and distributed throughout Asia.
It is found in low-lying meadows and fields, woodlands, gardens, and low hills.
The mantis generally prefers habitats with abundant vegetation and a warm climate.
In the wild, Chinese Mantises have been found to feed on a variety of insects and small invertebrates.
They can be found in gardens, around tree trunks, and on the edges of forests and scrubland.
These creatures have also been introduced to many other parts of the world, including Europe, North America, and South America.
The diet of Tenodera aridifolia in their natural habitat is mainly composed of small insects and other invertebrates such as flies, crickets, moths, and even other mantids.
When hunting, they will often wait to ambush their prey, camouflaged by foliage, and then strike with their raptorial forelegs.
This species is also known to eat plants in some cases, and it has been observed that their diet can vary seasonally depending on the availability of different foods.
Chinese Mantis are generally docile creatures that are perfectly safe to keep in the home around people and other animals.
They are not known to be aggressive and will usually avoid contact with anything that isn’t their prey.
While they may seem skittish at first, they will eventually become comfortable and may even land on your hand with a gentle gesture.
With proper handling, they generally prove to be quite gentle and calm.
Not only are Tenodera aridifolia calm around people, but they can also coexist peacefully in the same environment as most other animals.
As long as the environment is predictable and contains no large predators, they will usually be content living in the same space as other animals.
The Chinese Mantis is an impressive species with a lifespan of 6 to 12 months.
Depending on their environment and the seasonal changes, the average lifespan of these incredible creatures can vary.
Tenodera aridifolia goes through several stages of the life cycle which are egg, nymphs, sub-adults, and finally mature adult.
Beginning in late April and early May, the female Chinese Mantis lays her eggs enclosed in a frothy tan foam which she sticks to a plant or branch of a plant.
Prior to hatching, the eggs can overwinter under freezing temperatures and will begin hatching in the spring.
Once they have hatched, the newly born mantis will go through five to seven nymphal instars as they mature or grow in size.
After each molt, the nymphs will become bigger and the females become larger and are able to breed at the fifth instar.
Female Chinese Mantis typically reach maturity and are ready to mate early in the fall.
The mating process begins when a female lays down a special kind of hormone called a pheromone which attracts a male to her.
When a male is attracted to the female and approaches, the male allows the female to climb onto him.
The female then proceeds to grasp the male, in a behavior known as “attaching” or “face-to-face embracing,” with her front legs.
This behavior can last for several minutes or days until the female has laid her eggs.
Once the female has mated and laid her eggs, she can lay anywhere from 30 to 400 eggs.
The eggs are placed in a thin foam-like material that is produced by the female and is called “ootheca”.
The ootheca is designed to protect the eggs from the elements, and eventually, the eggs will hatch into nymphs.
The nymphs look like smaller versions of the adult Chinese Mantis and will molt multiple times until they reach full maturity and adulthood.
Where To Find Chinese Mantis
Finding Tenodera aridifolia for sale can be tricky, as they are not widely available in pet stores.
Your best bet for finding one is to look online – both reputable insect breeders and conservation/captive breeding sites offer mantis for sale.
Alternatively, you can look for them in the wild.
Chinese Mantis can commonly be found in gardens and shrubbery in Asia from Korea to India.
The best time to find them is late summer to early autumn.
When foraging in the wild, always take extra care not to disturb the natural balance of ecosystems.
Chinese Mantis Care
To properly care for Tenodera aridifolia you need to set up the perfect habitat for them that meets all their needs, feed them a nutritious diet of live prey, breed them in an optimal environment, and take special care to ensure their stress is kept low.
Additionally, you must keep the cage clean and free of debris, and ensure you are aware of common care misconceptions.
The ideal tank setup for your Chinese Mantis should be a well-ventilated terrarium or paludarium of the appropriate size.
The ideal vivarium type should ideally be one that allows for high humidity and for the mantis to find secure hiding places.
It is important to ensure a proper temperature range of between 70-80°F (21-27°C).
The pH balance of any water offered should be between 6.0 – 7.5, and the general hardness should be 75-150 ppm (parts per million).
The terrarium should also be moderately lit, but should never be in direct sunlight.
What Does Chinese Mantis Eat?
Feeding your Chinese Mantis is an important part of caring for this species.
Tenodera aridifolia is typically carnivorous, preying on small insects like crickets, flies, gnats, and moths.
You can buy pre-killed prey, such as crickets or mealworms, or try to catch live prey for your mantis.
When feeding, mantids should be provided with an appropriate amount of food for their size.
Some food items should be offered to your mantis every other day, while at other times they can go without food for a day or two.
Their prey items should also reflect their diet in the wild, so offer them a variety of insects.
Here is a list of food that you can feed Tenodera aridifolia:
- Wax Worms
- Fruit Flies
If you’re looking for a more detailed approach to feeding these critters, be sure to check out my ultimate DIY Praying Mantis food guide. I give a more in-depth explanation of the best foods and my favorite recipe.
Best Tankmates For Chinese Mantis
Tenodera aridifolia is a beneficial insect and should be kept separate from other animals, as they have been known to eat each other and other insects.
However, there are a few animals that can be kept as companions with Chinese Mantis in a terrarium as long as the animals are of similar size.
Just be sure not to overcrowd the terrarium, as this will not be beneficial to either the Chinese Mantis or your other tank mates.
Ground-dwelling species such as geckos, skinks, turtles, and tortoises can be great tankmates for Chinese Mantis.
These species are non-threatening to the Chinese Mantis and can help provide extra humidity to the terrarium.
It’s essential to be aware that some of these species can eat insects, so it’s important to do research and make sure these species won’t eat your Chinese Mantis and its prey.
If you have followed the steps in this guide, from setting up your mantis’ habitat to understanding their nutrition, feeding schedule, and egg care, you are well on your way to keeping your Chinese Mantis happy.
Caring for this species will in turn keep your own life more interesting, fulfilling, and fun – so don’t delay, and continue to provide Tenodera aridifolia the best care and environment!
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, the Chinese mantis is an invasive species in North America. It was first introduced in 1896 as a form of biological control of pest insects, and since then its population has spread widely in the eastern United States.
No, a Chinese mantis cannot hurt you. These insects are generally harmless to humans and do not have the necessary mouthparts or other body structures that could cause harm to people.
No, it is irresponsible to release Chinese praying mantises into the wild. This species is not native to the area and could potentially disrupt the local ecology. Additionally, USDA restrictions prevent the transportation and release of any exotic species.
A Chinese praying mantis is a species of insect that is often seen and appreciated as a symbol of good luck. In some Eastern cultures, particularly in China, the mantis is believed to bring protection and spiritual guidance.
The most obvious difference between a praying mantis and a Chinese mantis is their size. Praying mantises are usually smaller than Chinese mantises, and they also tend to have a slightly more elongated shape. Chinese mantises can grow up to 8 inches in length while praying mantises typically range from 2 to 5 inches. Additionally, Chinese mantises tend to have a darker, more greenish color while praying mantises range more from light to dark brown and have more mid–tone coloring. Furthermore, Chinese mantises originate from East Asia while praying mantises are more widely distributed, and can be found around the world.
Yes, a Chinese mantis can be held, but it can become very stressed if held for too long. It is recommended that you wear gloves when handling the mantis to prevent its delicate legs from being damaged.