Can Praying Mantis Eat Rolly Pollies?

Praying mantis capture a variety of insects, invertebrates, crustaceans, and even smaller vertebrates to get nutrition. They are supposed to find rolly pollies as an attractive source of nutrition due to their tiny moving bodies in the environment.

Can Praying Mantis Eat Rolly Pollies? Praying mantis can eat rolly pollies due to their opportunistic or predatory nature, small body size, and availability. They can eat around 5 to 7 rolly pollies daily. Praying mantis can efficiently control the population of these agricultural pests by consuming many of them at once.

Rolly pollies are pretty small isopods that provide nutrition to ground predators like frogs, spiders, newts, toads, and many other reptiles, mammals, arthropods, and amphibians.

Why do praying mantis eat rolly pollies?

Praying mantis prefer to attack smaller organisms to fulfill their bodies’ nutritional needs. They have an insectivorous diet and feed primarily on smaller insects and other tiny creatures.

Rolly pollies or pill bugs can also become a food source for a mantis due to their smaller body and high nutritional content. They are also known as potato bugs or woodlice that can roll up.

These are small terrestrial crustaceans widely available on the land surface and get captured by ground predators. They are called rolly pollies for their ability to roll up into small sizes.

Moreover, they are only 0.25 to 0.5 inches long, making it easier for mantis to grab their small bodies and engulf them quickly. They are also a rich source of proteins and fats.

Accordingly, praying mantis get nutrients by consuming these small terrestrial crustaceans with plated exoskeletons on the outer side of the body.

These plated structures protect from predators, but mantis can easily break and swallow the outer shell. It takes only a few seconds to grab and eat these tiny insects.

In addition, they can extract essential elements by consuming them in large numbers, as eating only 1 or 2 pill bugs cannot benefit them.

Furthermore, they also eat potato bugs due to the availability of these insects in the natural habitat of praying mantis. They do not think twice after seeing rolly pollies in their habitat and capture them.

How many rolly pollies can a praying mantis eat?

Rolly pollies are smaller terrestrial creatures that are almost half an inch in size. They are much smaller than praying mantis bodies, making it easier for them to grab prey.

However, their small size allows mantis to capture more of these pill bugs to meet their body needs. Their bodies cannot fulfill energy demands by eating only a few of these tiny crustaceans.

Generally, they can eat around 3 to 4 rolly pollies every other day, but their dietary requirements change if the prey size is small.

My friend offers only 5 of these pill bugs to its Chinese mantis, which is considered sufficient for almost a day. Their number decreases for smaller species, like a European mantis.

The smaller predators do not need bulk food, as only a few crustaceans can meet their body demands. So, the smaller species consume only 3 to 4 rolly pollies in one day.

In the same way, the number of rolly pollies an adult insect can eat differs from those of nymphs due to size and age difference.

The growing nymphs are smaller and need less food but eat more frequently than their parents. They need food daily, while adults can remain hungry for a day or two.

How do rolly pollies defend against praying mantis?

Rolly pollies have defense mechanisms to protect themselves from the attack of predators as they come across various attackers in their lifespan.

It is less likely for a pill bug to win the battle against a praying mantis, but sometimes, they are lucky enough to dodge these smart carnivorous predators.

One of their common defensive strategy is to roll up their bodies into a ball after detecting a danger in their surroundings. Their bodies are soft from the lower side, but hard plates protect from the outer side.

Accordingly, they roll up tightly and protect their body’s soft or vulnerable parts. The tough exoskeleton protects them from the physical attacks of predators and reduces the chances of death.

I had seen these tiny rolly pollies curling up their segmented bodies into a ball-like structure when I tried to touch them. They consider touch as a threat and quickly curl up.

In addition, these pill bugs secrete chemicals or alkaloids that deter predators and help keep them at a distance. The bad taste of chemicals discourages predators from attacking and eating.

Their body color also allows them to camouflage in the environment and keep themselves hidden from predator’s eye. They have grey or brown bodies and efficiently hide in the environment.

So, chemical secretion, camouflage, and curling of bodies are the primary defensive approaches of these rolly pollies, but mantis are also smart predators and manage to capture them.

How often do praying mantis eat rolly pollies?

Praying mantis love to eat insects as their diet primarily relies on tiny segmented insects, but their food choice varies according to habitats.

Accordingly, they eat rolly pollies more frequently when abundantly present in their habitat. It is not a part of the mantis’ regular diet but provides energy when available.

They are present in large numbers during warm weather, as it is the breeding season for potato bugs. They inhabit damp soil in gardens, flower pots, under rocks, and leaf litter.

I preferably feed only crickets, dragonflies, or worms to my pet, but bring some changes in their diet by adding seasonal insects. I feed them rolly pollies between the months of May and August.

Furthermore, the frequency of eating rolly pollies in wild species also depends on their availability, as the wild species consume more of these crustaceans in warm weather.

What type of praying mantis can eat rolly pollies?

Many praying mantis species in the garden get nutritional elements by eating rolly pollies. They can be used as efficient controllers of the population of these tiny potato bugs.

Many gardeners use Chinese mantis to control the population of rolly pollies in the garden because they cause damage to new roots of plants and even crops.

In addition, the European mantis is also known to consume a wide range of smaller arthropods and crustaceans, including these pill bugs.

Other types include Carolina and California mantis species that have insectivorous diets and target a variety of garden pests to meet their hunger.

In addition, the wild species also capture rolly pollies when they see a large number of these organisms on the forest floor or flower beds.

Its consumption does not depend on species type, but the availability of pill bugs in the habitat determines the eating preferences.

So, you can use any of these mantis species to control the population of rolly pollies in the backyard; otherwise, their massive groups can cause significant damage to crops.

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