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Old 09/22/2009, 03:36 PM   #1
Thurge
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Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Colorado Springs
Posts: 2,707
How to catch a Mantis in your reef

So you have a mantis in your reef.
Catching these elusive critters isn't the easiest thing because they aren't dumb. It will take cunning and maybe a little luck. The most common method is to use a "bottle trap". Take a water bottle, the larger the better (use a water bottle because some of the chemicals in soda pop can permeate the plastic of the bottle) and cut the top off of the bottle where the sides are straight up and down. Take the cut off top, remove the cap, invert it and shove it back into the bottom so you have a funnel leading into the bottle with the cap end inside the bottom.
Then remove as much of your CUC as you can and move them to a place that the mantis can't get to, such as your fuge. You want to make the trap as alluring as possible, and the mantis as hungry as possible. Bait the trap with a crab, or silverside as snails may escape (you may need to do this before putting your top into the bottom of your trap). Set the trap on its side near where you think your mantis has made its home, and leave it. I would also get it as low into your sand bed as possible to make it easier for your mantis to find its way in. Check the trap fairly regularly but keep in mind that your foe has incredible eyesight so you don't actually want to just sit there watching because you are probably being watched yourself.
Once you have trapped your thief move it someplace that it can't escape and return your CUC to the tank.
IF your mantis escapes the trap things will become more complicated. Remember where I said they aren't dumb? If your interloper makes an escape, it now knows the trick to escaping the bottle trap and unless you are lucky and find the mantis while it's in the bottle it will just go, remove the bait and go back home. That is why I said the bigger the bottle the better, with a bigger bottle the mantis is less likely to find its way back out of the bottle. Should you find yourself in this position then you may be forced to find the rock it is living in and remove the rock to get the mantis. A good indication you have found the Mantis Lair, is the accumulation of broken snail shells and crab parts.
Once you have found your mantis' home and removed the rock. Probably the most effective way to get it to vacate the rock is to pour soda water into the hole it is living in. Many people will advocate hypersaline water dips and fresh water dips to force the critter out, but many mantis are adapted to live in rather hostile environments where they are subjected to low O2 levels, rapidly rising salinity, or even fresh water from rain; so they can stand these dips for quite some time. No mantis is evolved to stand soda water. Not to mention mantis can be rather stubborn bugs who don't easily vacate their homes.
Once you have trapped your problem mantis post a thread in the mantis forum that you have caught a mantis and would like to get rid of it. The regular posters will most likely be more than happy to pay for the shipping.

Good luck and happy hunting.


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Last edited by Thurge; 09/22/2009 at 03:42 PM.
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