Is My Praying Mantis Dying?

Praying mantis have a specific lifespan in which they go through several molting stages to become adults. However, they will ultimately die due to natural or biological factors when their lifecycle ends. Some other external factors also contribute to survival threats in the wild.

Is My Praying Mantis Dying? A dying mantis lacks body strength and becomes unresponsive to physical stimuli. Its appetite decreases, the body changes color, and it attains unusual postures with a sunken abdomen. It can die due to environmental stress, old age, biological changes, physical injuries, etc.

It can be challenging for new pet keepers to identify these signs due to a lack of knowledge about their behavioral activities. Experienced people can relate their behavioral and physical changes to death if such changes persist for a long time period.

How do you know if a praying mantis is dying?

Many people do not know about the symptoms of a dying praying mantis, which seems problematic because they cannot help their pets.

It is essential for pet owners to know the behavioral and physical changes in insects to relate them to their health.

They can only help a stressed mantis if they know it is going through a stressful condition; otherwise, their pets die in helplessness.

Lack of movement

They do not move actively in their habitats or cages and restrict themselves to one spot.

They do not feel happy or comfortable to engage in activities or move inside the cage. You can estimate that it is dying if it does not jump or hang on the cage walls for long.

They become less responsive to physical stimuli and lie on the floor for several minutes to hours. Avoid touching their bodies at this time to reduce the death stress.

Loss of appetite

Praying mantis lose appetite or hunger after entering the death phase of their lifecycle. They do not show interest in hunting prey or insects and rely on their owners to feed them.

Sometimes, they also reject food after realizing they are about to die, as their bodies lose the ability to digest it. They do not eat well and reject the offered food.

So, you can relate loss of appetite with death in these carnivorous insects because they stop eating after approaching the last stage of their lifecycle.

Lack of strength

In addition, they lose the strength to perform activities like hanging upside down on the cage wires and capturing insects. Their bellies or abdomens get sunken into their bodies.

They appear weaker and smaller due to a lack of energy in their bodies. Their bodies cannot produce enough energy molecules when they stop eating food for long.

This way, they lose the strength to move around and capture their prey after a certain period of time. My mantis got weaker and weaker each day when it entered a death phase.

Unusual postures

It attains unusual postures when close to death, as I have seen my mantis lying on the cage floor helplessly.

They usually curl up their bodies and turn upside down due to a lack of strength to stand on their legs. They attain a comfortable position by relaxing their body muscles.

In addition, one of my friends told me about the unusual posture of a dying mantis that was quite different from the praying posture. This sign indicates that his pet is about to die.

Change in postures usually occurs when they can only live for a few minutes to hours. So, you can do nothing to prevent death when they curl up bodies.

Discoloration of body

Another noticeable sign of a dying mantis is a change in the body color due to slow metabolism and starving conditions. Brown spots appear on their body when they are about to die.

They slowly turn brown completely before molting and die if they cannot survive molting stress. Brown patches are clearly visible on their green body that starts from a small spot.

Why is my praying mantis dying?

Many reasons account for death in praying mantis, which does not seem to be deadly for insects but becomes lethal if sustained for a long time period.

Accidental death or injury

One of the immediate causes of their death is accidents when they get stuck in the cage wires or fall from a plant.

In addition, they can also drown in the deep water after falling from a tree into a pond. They need a humid environment to survive but die in excessively humid conditions.

They can swim and remain underwater but die of suffocation after some time because they need oxygen to survive. They can also die if they get stuck between rocks for long.

Molting or egg-laying stress

The molting process is quite stressful for praying mantis as they have to shed the outer skeleton and get a new one. A few cannot tolerate the pain of shedding exoskeleton and die.

They also suffer from injuries while removing their chitin shells and die after some time due to extreme pain and stress.

Female mantis also lose their lives due to the stress of the egg-laying process. The death ratio is usually higher in females after laying eggs as they lay many eggs simultaneously.

Moreover, she can survive only 12 to 15 days after laying eggs, so you can see them dying after mating and egg-laying.

Environmental stress

Praying mantis are highly sensitive to changes in the external environment, as they need proper moisture levels and temperature to survive in nature.

Extremely cold and hot environments can be deadly for them due to less tolerance in these ectothermic creatures. The use of insecticidal sprays can also affect their survival rate.

The toxic chemicals interfere with their nervous system and disturb the internal functioning of their bodies. This way, they lose coordination in brain functions and die due to toxicity.

Old age

One of the natural factors responsible for their death is old age, when their lifecycle reaches an end. They can also grow old according to their lifespan.

On average, they can live for one year at maximum, and their health begins to deteriorate when they reach the last months of the year. The older mantis eat less and become less active.

Starvation and Dehydration

They need food and moisture to get energy and keep themselves hydrated. Lack of food and water causes problems in survival if they starve for a prolonged duration.

Their food provides moisture content and nutritional value, so they are prone to death if they do not have anything to eat for many weeks.

So, your mantis can die if you do not pay attention to its diet and living conditions, as they are only dependent on owners in captivity.

Infection or disease

The risk of infection is common in praying mantis because they live in moist habitats and become prone to fungal or mold growth.

Similarly, some bacterial pathogens can also attack their bodies when they eat infected insects or worms in the wild environment.

They get diseases by interacting with many organisms in nature.

Do praying mantis pretend to be dead?

Sometimes, people consider praying mantis to be dead when they become completely unresponsive to touch or other physical stimuli.

However, they can efficiently pretend to be dead at times when they feel survival threats. They appear to be dead due to loss of movement and eating behavior.

You cannot easily differentiate a dead mantis from one playing dead because it mimics a dead one so well. It remains motionless until it feels safe, and the threat diminishes.

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