If you happen to keep a pet praying mantis, there are times when you may consider feeding it on whiteflies. But before actually taking that course of action, you will want to know whether whiteflies are proper food for praying mantises. Read on, to find out.
Do praying mantis eat whiteflies? Yes, praying mantis do eat whiteflies. The whiteflies are actually among the top staple foods for praying mantises in the wild. A praying mantis normally hunts for whiteflies using the ambush method, immobilizes them and eats them bit by bit.
From the whiteflies, praying mantises are able to draw the nutrients they need for their wellbeing.
But given the size and dexterity of whiteflies, there are people who may not believe that the mantises actually have the capability to feed on them.
So that question – on whether praying mantises can really eat whiteflies – is perhaps the one we should start with.
Can Praying Mantis Eat Whiteflies?
Yes, praying mantis are capable of eating whiteflies.
Indeed, if you research on what kind of bugs do praying mantis eat, you tend to find whiteflies near the top of the list.
Thus the real question is not whether praying mantis can eat whiteflies. The real question should for instance be with regard to how often the mantises can eat whiteflies: for instance, can praying mantis eat whiteflies daily?
But with regard to the mantises having the ability to eat whiteflies, there is absolutely no question about that.
How Do Mantises Eat Whiteflies?
The process through which a praying mantis eats whiteflies can be visualized as being a 4 step process.
Firstly, the mantis will ambush the whiteflies in locations that they tend to go. Since the mantis is well camouflaged by its color and shape, it only needs to lie still, and the whiteflies will keep on coming to it.
Secondly, once the whitefly is close enough to the praying mantis, the latter will strike and grasp it with its strong forearms.
Thirdly, after striking and grasping the whitefly, the mantis will immobilize it using the same (strong) forearms.
Fourthly and finally, the mantis will draw the whitefly to its mouthpart (using its forearms). Thereafter, the mantis gets to eat the said whitefly bit by bit.
Which Types Of Whiteflies Do Praying Mantis Eat?
Whiteflies come in many varieties – ranging from live ones to dead ones, fresh ones to frozen ones and so on. The question that comes up is on which of these types of whiteflies the praying mantises eat.
Let’s look at some in turn.
Do Praying Mantis Eat Live Whiteflies?
Yes, praying mantis do eat live whiteflies.
In fact, praying mantises will only eat whiteflies if they find them alive: not otherwise.
Do Praying Mantis Eat Dead Whiteflies?
No, praying mantis don’t eat dead whiteflies.
If a praying mantis finds a whitefly already dead, it won’t touch it. Even whiteflies that play dead may end up being spared by the praying mantises.
Actually, even a starving mantis normally won’t stoop to the level of eating dead insects: whether whiteflies or any other.
Do Praying Mantis Eat Frozen Whiteflies?
No, praying mantis can’t eat frozen whiteflies.
For the whiteflies to be frozen, it would mean that they are already dead. And as we said, praying mantises normally don’t eat dead insects. By inference then, they can’t eat frozen whiteflies.
Do Praying Mantis Eat Whiteflies In The Wild?
Yes, in the wild, praying mantises do eat whiteflies.
Indeed, if you observe wild praying mantises on a day to day basis, you are bound to sooner than later find them hunting for and eating whiteflies. The whiteflies are among the praying mantises’ staples.
How Many Whiteflies Should A Praying Mantis Eat?
So far, we have said whiteflies are suitable food for praying mantises.
The question that a person who keeps a pet praying mantis may have is on how many whiteflies the mantis should eat. And, conversely, how much whiteflies is too much for praying mantis.
As it turns out, for a praying mantis nymph, one or two whiteflies are usually sufficient. And for an adult mantis, a maximum of 5 whiteflies is usually enough.
Note that overfeeding a mantis is known to sometimes shorten its lifespan: hence the need for highly regulated feeding.
Final Verdict – Do Praying Mantis Eat Whiteflies
Praying mantis do eat whiteflies. In nature (that is in the wild), the whiteflies tend to be among the food staples for praying mantises.
Normally, the mantises simply lay ambushes near locations that whiteflies visit often. Then once a whitefly is close enough, the mantis grabs it using its forelimbs and immobilizes it. Finally, the mantis feeds on that whitefly bit by bit.
This means that for people keeping pet praying mantises, whiteflies may be suitable food (for the mantis). Just note that a mantis only eats whiteflies that are captured alive: not those that are brought to it already dead.
Welcome to Learn About Pet. My name is Rajkumar Ravichandran and I love all pets, travel, and amazing food. I write about my passion and personal experience caring for multiple pets in this blog! ❤️
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