This page gives a brief guide to rearing mantids. Further information may be found in some of the books that have been published on mantids.
Choosing your mantis
The availability of species is constantly changing, so it is not sensible to become fixated on a particular species. The best choices for beginners are some of the typical mantids. Species of Miomantis, Sphodromantis, Polyspilota, and Tenodera are frequently available, relatively cheap, and usually easy to rear. Beginners should generally avoid the more exotic looking species - they are often more difficult to rear, and more expensive.
Whether to buy an ootheca, nymphs, or adults is very much a personal choice and is likely to depend on price and availability. Nymphs are usually cheaper than an ootheca or adult but a single nymph is no use if you intend to breed mantids. If you buy two or three nymphs they may not all survive to adult and you may end up with only one sex. Buying an adult female is risky, she may be old and about to die, or she may not have been mated. Oothecae are relatively cheap and have the potential to give you many nymphs, assuming the ootheca came from a mated female, has not already hatched, and has not dried out; unfortunately few breeders are willing to sell oothecae.