How To Tell If A Praying Mantis Has A Horsehair Worm? 4 Clear Signs

Praying mantis is an insect that is often infested with parasites. If you see a praying mantis in the wild with lack of wings or in captivity when a mantis has stunted growth, it might be that your mantis has a parasite. One type of parasite that often resides in praying mantis’ bodies is horsehair worm.

How to tell if a praying mantis has a horsehair worm? Praying mantis will show symptoms of infection such as diarrhea, abdominal pain, weight loss, and vomiting. Horsehair worms make praying mantis more active in the afternoon, and find light reflecting off water.

Let’s find out why horsehair worms often become parasites for praying mantis.

How to tell if a praying mantis has a horsehair worm
How To Tell If A Praying Mantis Has A Horsehair Worm?


Can Praying Mantis Survive Hairworm?

Yes, sometimes praying mantis can survive a horsehair worm. The worm will grow according to how big the mantis is and will burst out of the mantis’ abdomen.

The mantis will survive if the praying mantis can expel the worm before it bursts out.


How To Tell If A Praying Mantis Has A Horsehair Worm?

The horsehair worm will feed off the mantis’ nutrients and cause severe damage to the mantis’ intestines and other organs.

Praying mantis will show several symptoms, such as diarrhea, abdominal pain, and stunted growth.


What Are The Signs Of Horsehair Worms In Praying Mantis?

The table below will explain several signs of praying mantis affected by horsehair worm infection.

Praying mantis horsehair worm signsExplanation
Abdominal painHorsehair worms can infect the gastrointestinal tract and cause abdominal pain.
More active in the middle of the dayHorsehair worms make the host more active in the afternoon and look for water.
Desire to get into the waterHorsehair worms will take control of the mantis’ body and sometimes make the mantis sink in the water.
Burst out of the mantis’ bodyHorsehair worms that have been in the mantis’ body for a long time will come out of the mantis’ body and lead to death to its host.


Can Insects Survive Horsehair Worms?

Yes, some insects like crickets and cockroaches can survive the horsehair worm infestation. Praying mantis can survive horsehair worms if they can leave the mantis’ body before they mature.


What To Do If You Find A Horsehair Worm?

No control is needed if you find horsehair worms, because it can be beneficial for controlling certain pets. If you have a praying mantis as a pet, keep the food and drink you give it clean.


Can A Praying Mantis Survive A Horsehair Worm?

Yes, praying mantis can survive the horsehair worm infection if the worm is still not big enough and leaves the mantis’ body. Try putting the mantis into the water, and make sure the mantis will not drown.

The horsehair worms will find a way out because they live in water. If the horsehair worm is not too long and has not been in the mantis’ body for too long, then the mantis can survive.


Do All Praying Mantis Have Worms?

No, not all praying mantises have worms. But the majority of mantis are infested with hair worms due to several factors, such as improper diet of mantis.


Do Horsehair Worms Kill Praying Mantis?

Horsehair worms will live in the mantis‘ body and feed on the mantis’ nutrients. Praying mantis will look fine until the horsehair worms mature and burst out of the mantis’ body.

If the worm is big enough, it will kill the host because the horsehair worm can grow up to 90 cm long.

Besides, horsehair worms can modify the mantis’ brain chemistry, making praying mantis want to go into the water and make them drown. Horsehair worms will come out of the praying mantis’ body when it is in water.


How Many Praying Mantis Have Hair Worms?

More than 80% of praying mantis in the wild are infested with horsehair worms because praying mantis eat aquatic insects that host the worms.

The hairworm will proceed to grow until it is mature in the mantis’ body. If it is big enough, the horsehair worm will come out of the praying mantis’ body and can lead to death to the mantis.


Final Verdict

Praying mantis can become infected with parasites if they eat aquatic insects that have become horsehair worms’ hosts.

The horsehair worm will grow inside the praying mantis’ body, causing the mantis to experience abdominal pain, vomiting, and other symptoms.

The horsehair worm will eat the mantis’ nutrients, causing the praying mantis to experience stunted growth. If it is mature, the horsehair worm will burst out from the mantis’ body and can lead to the mantis’ death.

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