Can Praying Mantis Eat Mealworms?

Eating preferences of praying mantis change significantly according to the availability of food type, weather conditions, and species. They consider invertebrates a source of nutrition but do not miss tiny worms and larvae. They can efficiently capture earthworms, mealworms, and superworms and devour their segmented bodies quickly.

Can Praying Mantis Eat Mealworms? Praying mantis can eat mealworms because these soft-bodies organisms are easier to capture and digest. They are abundantly available in the soil and under the rocks, making it easier for the mantis to quickly strike their slow-moving bodies by jumping from plants. They can eat around 2 to 3 adult mealworms, but it is not a part of their regular diet.

Mealworms are a good source of nutrition for many insects in captivity, so pet keepers get live and frozen food to give a treat to their pets. Praying mantis have a versatile diet, including small invertebrates, arthropods, insect larvae, reptiles, amphibians, and these soft-bodies mealworms. They avoid eating organisms that are difficult to subdue and attack smaller worms and insects.

Why do praying mantis eat mealworms?

A large number of insects and worms are a favorite meal of praying mantis because they have a carnivorous diet and feed on these living creatures.

They do not miss the opportunity to eat mealworms and feed on their nutritious bodies to seek energy-rich elements.

Moreover, they can quickly strike a slow-moving organism on the ground by jumping downward. They have juicy bodies and soft body tissues that are easier to chew and ingest.

Fresh mealworms contain around 60% to 63% water content and provide other essential nutrients. Almost 2% to 3% fiber and 17% to 20% protein are present in them.

This moisture content reduces to 5% to 7% in the dried ones, while the protein content increases to 50% to 55%. So, they are beneficial for praying mantis, whether living or dead.

I prefer to add these mealworms to my pet’s diet due to their high nutritional value and low cost. They are available in different sizes, making it easier to choose the right amount for your pet.

However, it is a little bit challenging for mantis to locate them in wild conditions because they move slowly or remain motionless.

How do praying mantis eat mealworms?

Praying mantis can attack and capture mealworms, ensuring successful prey hunting because some prey are hard to catch due to quick movements.

However, they attack insects living on trees and plants more frequently than those on the ground due to ease of attack, as they do not have to reach the ground surface.

The mealworms burrow themselves into the soil, making them less prone to attack. The praying mantis detects their movements when they are present above the ground.

They have to be quick in their strikes; otherwise, these mealworms disappear and get inside the deep soil. This predatory mantis can grab a worm when it is present within their strike range.

Moreover, they capture prey using forelegs and inject sharp spikes into its body. They eat it from the middle section and break their bodies into multiple sections.

So, they feed on other small insects and worms more frequently than these and eat them opportunistically. It depends on exposure rate, as they are less likely to see them out of burrows.

How many mealworms can a praying mantis eat?

The number of mealworms a praying mantis can eat depends on the size of the prey and mantis. Large and adult organisms need more food than the smaller and young ones.

They can eat almost 2 to 3 adult mealworms daily when they are healthy and active. They are usually 3 to 4.6cm long, which means they are equal to tiny mantis.

However, this number reduces for diseased or injured insects suffering from pain. They cannot eat much due to discomfort and consume only 1 or 2 of these worms to survive.

In addition, the young nymphs also eat only 1 large or 2 small worms in a single meal, depending on their body needs.

A meal’s size also varies among mantis species because a few are small enough to eat only one small worm or half of the large one.

Weather conditions also influence their diet because they eat more in mild conditions and actively hunt for prey in favorable weather.

How often do praying mantis eat mealworms?

Praying mantis are more likely to feed on abundantly available insects and other invertebrates, but they also avail an opportunity to eat others after an encounter.

In the same way, mealworms are not a regular part of their diet, but they provide nutrition to them when it is possible for the mantis to capture and swallow them.

I feed my pet mantis worms once a week because it is rich in moisture and protein. It is better to add them in a small portion of their diet food without replacing it completely.

Replacing insects with them leads to a deficiency of nutrients and other health problems, so it should constitute a small portion of their diet.

One of my friends feeds 2 small mealworms and 1 cricket to its pet mantis, which seems a suitable amount of food for them.

How do you feed mealworms to praying mantis?

Hand feeding is the common method of offering food to praying mantis, but a few other techniques are also suitable for feeding them. You can also put mealworms in a shallow plate or bowl.

Put this plate inside the cage and let them try to reach their food. They can quickly detect movements and grab these tiny worms for swallowing.

Some people drop mealworms one by one inside the glass tank in which mantis are present. This way, they capture a newly introduced organism in their tank and eat it quickly.

In addition, I use forceps or tongs to feed mealworms to my pet. It results in quick swallowing when you pick worms with forceps and take them close to the mantis’ mouth.

Some people hesitate to feed them by hand so that you can use forceps. Live worms can be dropped in tanks and put in bowls as they can capture the mantis’ attention by wriggling movements.

However, you have to feed dead or frozen mealworms with forceps; otherwise, they do not attract mantis quickly. You can also cut larger ones into smaller sections for easier ingestion.

So, the feeding method depends on your choice and praying mantis habits, as most do not consider dead organisms a good food source.

Is it safe for praying mantis to eat mealworms?

Generally, it is safe for praying mantis to eat mealworms because they do not cause harm during defense. They do not fight back or rarely cause any physical damage to predators.

In addition, they are not toxic due to the absence of poisonous material in their bodies. They can carry disease and contaminating pathogens when feeding on the decaying carcasses of birds.

In the same way, they also carry pathogenic organisms by visiting contaminated places like litter. These pathogens can sometimes infect praying mantis, but it happens rarely.

There is nothing to worry about when you get them from stores because the sellers provide non-infected ones. It is better to raise them at home to avoid the infection risks.

However, mixing them with a variety of smaller insects and invertebrates is essential to provide a balanced diet to mantis in captivity.

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