We have been raising a group of Thistle mantises here at PanTerra Pets since late March, 2016, when we received 11 of them as L2 nymphs.
This species is an incredibly slow grower, compared to the other species we have raised. After 5 months, they have just now begun molting to L6.
Fortunately, we have not had any instances of mismolts, even for being kept in such a dry environment.
Thistle mantises are not an extremely cannibalistic species, but will hunt and eat their own kind if other food sources are not available. To help keep the peace, we ensure food is available in their enclosures at all times, and have not had any problems.
Still, many people recommend keeping Thistles in individual enclosures, but we have been housing groups of four in one 12”x12”x12” mesh cube with some natural lichen branches (which they blend in with astonishingly well) and silk ivy, and have not had any problems with aggression. Occasionally, we have witnessed them displaying their threat pose to each other, but have not had any incidences of cannibalism.
They are not a particularly active species by any measure. We have observed them staying in the exact same spot in their enclosures for days on end! They really just seem to love doing what they do best: blending into their surroundings while waiting to snatch up unsuspecting prey.With any kind of luck, someday we hope to offer this unique species for sale at PanTerraPets.com, but they sure seem to be taking their good ol’ time getting there!