Every year we raise one species or another — or both — of praying mantids, and this summer we’ve got about three dozen Chinese mantids, Tenodera sinensis, in individual containers and in our leafy terrariums. The biggest terrarium is dense with milkweed, which has flowered, and there are several hopeful mantises waiting on the blooms for flying food to come along. Once again, we have both green and brown mantids from the same parents — no one’s certain how their color is triggered.

Though they get some fluids from the critters they eat — ours mostly eat crickets, house flies, and sometimes spiders — they also drink water when they find it. In my previous post, a newly hatched nymph, small enough to fit on my fingernail, took a drink from some of the (then still green) milkweed flowers. Now here’s a later instar, probably after at least three molts, drinking from drops of water on the yellow flowers.


A Tenodera sinensis nymph after about three molts.


We also have green morphs of the same species. They hang out on flowers because many flying insects visit.


When I misted the flowers with water, this nymph took a drink.


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