The undersized mantid I named "Lefty" shed his(her?) skin last week, and a couple of disfigurements became evident.
You can see in the photo above that his left front leg is slightly malformed. Also, you can see a weird little "finger" of his left mandible is also jutting out in an unnatural manner.
Without a full complement of mouthparts, and a sub-par set of graspers, eating has been a little difficult for him. This may have something to do with his being so small this late in the year, although I don't know if it's the cause or the effect of his problems.
In any case, I decided to return Lefty to the arboretum this morning, to live his life in the perilous freedom that Nature intended. Next weekend, I will be going on a little trip, and I don't want to have to worry about him languishing in a bug container while I'm away.
ETIII is another story. Her leafy eucalyptus branches can stay fresh for several days in the little vase in her container, and my boys can manage to give her a quick spritz of water once a day.