An adult Hierodula membranacea male. The females are much bigger and bulkier.
Giant Asian Mantis
Giant Asian Mantis, or more scientifically Hierodula membranacea, is one of the most common mantis pets. Its large size and the relative easiness of keeping this species contributes to its popularity. Sometimes this species is incorrectly referred to as Hierodula grandis.
It will not surprise you that the Giant Asian Mantis has its natural habitat in Asia.
An adult Hierodula membranacea female
Appearance of the Giant Asian Mantis
The color of the Giant Asian Mantis is usually green, but there are also yellow, beige and brown varieties. The beige individuals can even seem a bit pinkish. The difference in color is mainly due to the environment in which the animal is kept. They can develop a different color in a matter of days, but it is not yet understood which conditions will trigger a change in color.
Hierodula membranacea is one of the largest mantis species that is successfully kept in captivity. Adult females are about 3,5 inches long (8 – 9 cm), the males are with their 3 inches (7 – 8 cm) a bit smaller. The males are also much thinner and lighter than the females. The wings of a male extend to just past the abdomen. The adult females are bigger and bulkier than the males, with wings that extend just to the abdomen.
Behavior of the Giant Asian Mantis
Hierodula membranacea is a fierce kind of praying mantis. This species will actively hunt its prey once it spots it. They are not the general sit-and-wait kind of predators. A large prey insect does not scare a Giant Asian Mantis, it will attack anything half its own body size or smaller. It won’t attack you and can be handled easily. It will not be stressed out from having its enclosure close to people or pets.
Food and feeding for the Giant Asian Mantis
Adult Giant Asian Mantises are no fuzzy eaters, they eat almost anything. When adult they can easily grab adult crickets, adult locusts and big cockroaches. Hierodula membranacea newborn L1 nymphs eat all species of fruit fly, and when older will eat small crickets, flies and young grasshoppers. They will hunt for their food and are not easily intimidated by their prey.
Environmental conditions and housing for this species
The ideal temperature for Hierodula membranacea is about 24 ° C, but room temperature will also do (20 ° C). At night it can be cooler than daytime but at least 17 ° C.
This species does not have high demands concerning humidity, but it is important to spray with water every other day to allow the mantis to drink. A target air humidity is about 40 to 65%. Too high air humidity is a leading cause of death for this species of mantis!
As with all species of praying mantis, this species needs a cage that is at least 3 times the length of the animal is height, and at least 2x the length of the animal in width. For an adult this means is at least 27 cm in height and 18 cm in width. A nice size for a terrarium would be 30 x 20 x 30 cm, so there is room for lots of fake plants and perches.
A yellowish subadult Hierodula membranacea female nymph
Group housing in Hierodula species
Because Hierodula membranacea such active predator, it is not recommened to house multiple individuals together. Sooner or later there will only be one left in the group enclosure. Young nymphs are not as cannibalistic as older nymphs and adults. Nymphs can be kept together in one enclosure until about L4 when fed excessively and housed spacious.
Breeding with the Giant Asian Mantis
The Giant Asian Mantis is a relatively easy mantis species to breed. Many people have succesfully bred this species in captivity. Here is how you can do it.
First, you need to make sure you have males and females of the Giant Asian Mantis. The females of this species are larger, heavier and wider than the males. From around L4 nymph instar you can spot the differences between the sexes by looking at the segments on the abdomen of the mantis. Females have six segments, while males have eight. This method of sex determination can be done in an early nymph stage, but can sometimes be difficult for the untrained eye. But the older the nymph becomes, the more easily the differences can be seen. Male nymphs are usually a bit smaller and will develop larger and thicker antennae than the females.
Approximately 2 to 4 weeks after both partners reach adulthood, a mating attempt could be made. Make sure that the female has eaten really well in the days before you put the male in her terrarium (You can read the general way to mate praying mantises here). The female can be very aggressive to the male. It is recommended to give the female a large prey just before you introduce the male, to keep her occupied. If you see the female behave agressively towards the male, it is better to remove the male and try another day. Giant Asian Mantis females are relatively often cannibalistic.
Mating can take several hours. The male has to be removed from the enclosure as soon as mating ends if you want him to live.
The female will produce around 5 to 8 ootheca. From each of these ootheca around 200 nymphs can hatch! The nymphs are small and brown – greenish and will start to eat fruitflies after a few hours to one day. Take care of the ootheca roughly the same as you take care of the species, ready more about this at the Mantis Ootheca Care page.
Hierodula membranacea female
Hierodula membranacea - feeding
Indian Flower Mantis
The Indian Flower Mantis, or Creobroter pictipennis, is a mantis species in the flower mantis group. Creobroter gemmatus is very similar to Creobroter pictipennis, only the pattern on the wings is different. The care for both species is the same, therefore you can use this caresheet also for C. gemmatus.
A subadult female nymph of the Indian Flower Mantis
Appearance of the Indian Flower Mantis
Creobroter pictipennis is a creamy white color on most parts of the body. The top of the abdomen has some with green-brown blotches and the legs are striped green and brown. When adult the body is white with green accents, the wings are green with a striking yellow-white eye patch that is designed to scare away predators.
The adult females are about 4 cm long while the male is about 3 cm long (approximately one inch). The adult males are long and slender and have wings that are longer than their abdomen. The adult females are bulkier and broader, with wings that extend just a little bit over the end of the abdomen.
An adult female Creobroter pictipennis
Indian Flower mantis nymph
Behavior of the Indian Flower Mantis
The Indian Flower Mantis Creobroter pictipennis is a moderately active kind of praying mantis. They actively hunt prey once it is aware of it, but if there is no prey around it can stay in the same spot for days. The adults very often run away if they feel threatened, adult males will fly away often. They are very quick. This species also shows a deimatic display to scare off predators, they will hold their very spectacularly colored wings in upright position and spread their forelegs out wide. The patch on the wings and the bright colors suddenly become visible when the mantis shows this deimatic display. A bird who wanted to eat the mantis can be scared off by the colors, allowing the mantis to escape.
An adult female Creobroter pictipennis
Food for the Indian Flower Mantis
Because of the small size of this mantis, you can feed it all its life on fruit flies (Drosophila hydei). This species can attack very large prey without a problem, so you can also start to feed green bottle flies and for the adults blue bottle flies. Crickets can also be fed, but it is better to feed this species only flies.
If you want to learn how to breed your own fruit flies instead of buying them in the pet shop, you can check out our Fruit Fly Breeding page.
Environmental conditions for keeping this mantis species
The ideal temperature is about 25 ° C, but a temperature between 23 and 30 ° C is good. At night you can allow the temperature to drop to 17 ° C.
This species has preferred to stay moist, a RH of approximately 60 to 80%. This can be achieved by spraying four times a week, but this depends on the ventilation of the enclosure you use.
As with all species of praying mantis, the enclosure should be at least 3 times the length of the animal in height, and at least 2x the length of the animal in width. For an adult this means about 12 cm in height and 8 cm in width. A nice size for a terrarium would be 15 x 10 x 10 cm (h x w x d) or bigger, so there is room for lots of fake plants and perches.
The head of a subadult female nymph of the Indian Flower Mantis
Group housing for Creobroter spp.
Because Creobroter pictipennis is, like all praying mantids, a predator it is advised not to house them together in one enclosure. Sooner or later one will eat the other until finally only one mantis is left. Nymphs can be kept together until about L5 (fifth instar) when fed constantly and given a lot of space.
Breeding the Indian Flower Mantis
The difference between males and females is clear once they are adult. The males are much more slender than the females. When the nymphs are older, you can already see this difference. When the nymphs are older you can also see that the males have much thicker antennae than the females. For younger nymphs you can use the segment-counting method, described here.
Approximately 2 to 4 weeks after the final molt, a mating attempt could be made. Make sure that the female is completely satiated before you introduce the male to her enclosure. Mating can take several hours. The male must subsequently be removed from the enclosure, if he wants to live.
The ootheca must be kept in the same way as the mantis itself. Beware of mold, it arises from an excessively damp environment and can be deadly to the mantis. From one ootheca around 20 – 35 nymphs will hatch.
An adult female Creobroter pictipennis
Orchid Mantis, or Hymenopus coronatus, is a beautiful pink and white mantis with lobes on its legs that look like flower pentals. Although this species does not live on orchids, it does look remarkably well like a flower or orchid.
This species is very popular and loved as a pet because of its beautiful bright colors and amazing camouflage. In the wild Hymenopus coronatus is found in Malaysia.
A subsubadult female Orchid Mantis
A subsubadult female Orchid Mantis
Behavior of the Orchid Mantis:
Hymenopus coronatus is a quiet kind of praying mantis. Usually she stays waiting for a prey. Sometimes it will hunt after a prey when they detect it. The adult males can be extremely skittish and hyperactive. The adult male will often (try to) fly away when disturbed.
A very young (L2) Orchid Mantis
Environmental conditions for keeping this species
The ideal temperature for the Orchid Mantis is about 28 ° C, but you can vary the temperature between 25 ° and 35 ° C. At night the temperature should be at least 18 ° C. If you want to mate a male and a female that where born at the same time, you need to slow down the development of the male. These males should be constantly kept at 18 ° C.
This species needs a relatively high humidity. Approximately 60 to 80% RH. The nymphs are better kept drier, they are very sensitive to a humid environment. You can mist the nymphs about 1x per week, also depending on the ventilation you have in their enclosure. As the nymphs get older, you can gradually increase the air humidity by spraying more often.
As with all types praying mantids, this species needs an enclosure that is at least 3 times the length of the mantis in height, and at least 2x the length of the mantis width. For an adult female this means is at least 24 cm in height and 16 cm in width. A nice size for a terrarium would be 30 x 20 x 20 cm (HxWxL), so there is room for many artificial flowers and perches.
Group housing Orchid Mantises
You can not keep Orchid Mantises together in one enclosure when they are older than L3. It is therefore strongly advised to house these nymphs separately. Especially because of the size differences between males and females, cannibalism is very common.
Food for Orchid Mantids
Because this species lives on flowers, it eats mainly flying insects in nature. It is advisable to also offer them flying insects in captivity. Wild butterflies and hoverflies can be given in addition to a diet of houseflies / blue bottle flies. Crickets may also be fed, but preferably not as a main food.
A subsubadult female Orchid Mantis
Breeding Orchid Mantises
The females of this species are much larger than the males. It is therefore very important that the males and females identified in time, so you can make adjustments to their developmental time. If you want to mate males and females that were born around the same time, you need to slow down the development of the males. If you do not, then the males have already died of old age while the females are not yet mature. You can determine the sex of a mantis by counting the segments on the abdomen, as described here.
Once you know what the males and the females, you should start treating them differently. The females must grow much more, to reach their large adult size, so they should eat as much as they want every day. The temperature may be very high for them, around 35 ° C. Males have to be inhibited in their growth. Give them small prey, and a lot less than the females. They should also be kept much cooler than the females, at about 18 ° C to 20 ° C. Much lower temperatures cause health problems, so it is best to inhibit the growth primarily by food. Of course you do not want to starve your males, so keep a good eye on their body condition.
If you see that the females are almost adult, you can start to treat the males the same as the females. The females live much longer than males, so it is not a problem at all to have the female mature before the male. If you do not plan to breed the species you can keep males and females just the same all the time.
Approximately 2 to 4 weeks after the last molt, a mating attempt could be made. Make sure the female has eaten very well before you introduce the male. Usually the female is very hungry and can eat the male in an instance. It is certainly advisable that the female has something to eat when the male is introduced. She is occupied with having dinner so the male can approach her relatively safe. Mating may take several hours to even a few days. As long as everything looks good you can leave the male on her back for as long as he wants. When he leaves her back, remove him from the enclosure to make sure he is not eaten.
An adult female Sphodromantis baccettii
First instar, L1, Orchid mantis nymphs
Adult male Orchid Mantis
Praying mantids of the genus Sphodromantis are among the most commonly kept praying mantis. Most people keep Sphodromantis lineola. The species of this caresheet, Sphodromantis baccettii, is uncommon as a pet. Sphodromantis lineola is similar to S. baccettii in care and size, but there are some differences in coloration.
Sphodromantis baccettii is endemic to West Africa.
This species of praying mantis is almost always green. Sometimes one can find a slightly more yellow-green variety, but I did not observe any brown color variety in this species.
Sphodromantis baccettii females are about 8 cm long, the males with their 6 to 7 cm are smaller. The adult males are thinner, lighter and have slightly longer wings than their abdomen. The adult females are larger, heavier, broader with wings that extend just to the end of the abdomen. On their wings they have a small yellowish dot.
Many people wonder whether they have a Sphodromantis lineola or a Sphodromantis baccettii. Sellers of praying mantids sometimes sell their animals as a different species than they actually are. The difference between S. lineola and S. baccettii is the spot on the inside of the forelegs. Sphodromantis baccetti has a blue-black spot on his femur while Sphodromantis lineola has no dark spots on the inside of the forelegs. The femur is the part of the foreleg with large spines, but not the last part of the leg. The following picture shows the large spot on the femur of Sphodromantis baccettii
Adult female Sphodromantis baccettii
On this picture you can see the black-blueish spot on the femur of an adult female S. baccettii
Behavior of S. baccettii
Sphodromantis baccettii is a fierce kind of praying mantis. They actively chased after their prey once they are aware of it walking or flying around them. This species is not quickly intimidated by prey or people and can eat large prey without any problem.
The ideal temperature for S. baccettii is about 25 ° C, but a temperature between 21 and 30 ° C is just fine. At night the temperature should be at least 17 ° C.
This species has no high demands on the air humidity, but it is important to spray with water about 2 times a week. This will allow you mantis to drink. A target air humidity is about 50%.
As with all species of praying mantis, this species needs a cage that is at least 3 times the length of the animal is height, and at least 2x the length of the animal in width. For an adult this means is at least 24 cm in height and 16 cm in width. Suitable dimensions for a terrarium would be 30 x 20 x 30 cm (h x w x d), so there is place for lots of fake plants and perches. To read more about safe housing, read General Insect Enclosure.
A Spiny Flower Mantis female showing her powerful forelegs
Group housing :
Because Sphodromantis baccetti is such an active predator, it is not adviced to keep more than one mantis in one enclosure. Sooner or later one will eat the other. The bigger and older the mantis, the greater the chance of cannibalism. Nymphs can be kept together to around L4 when space and food is ample.
Breeding Sphrodomantis mantises :
The females of this species are larger and broader than the males when adult. When the mantises are still nymphs, you can distinquish the sexes by counting the number of segments of the abdomen. From around L4 (fourth instar) you should be able to see this. Females have six segments while males have eight segments. When the nymphs grow older, you can also start to notice that the males have a less broad body and have bigger and thicker antennae.
Approximately 2 to 4 weeks after both partners reach adulthood, a mating attempt could be made. (General breeding tips here) Make sure that the female eats very well before you introduce the male to her. The female can be very aggressive to the male, so keeping her occupied with a big prey item will help the male. Mating can take several hours, try not to disturb the pair during the mating. After mating the male should be removed from the enclosure, because he is in danger of being eaten.
Full view of the beautifull adult female Sphodromantis baccettii
Other names that come up for this type of praying mantis are: Sphodromantis baceti, Sphodromantis bacceti, Sphodromantis baccetti and Sphodromantis baccetti. The official name is Sphodromantis baccettii. –
Spiny Flower Mantis
The spiny Flower Mantis, or Pseudocreobotra wahlbergii, is a beautiful and colorful flower mantis. They are white with orange and green stripes, and as adults they have a beautiful patch of color on their wings that looks like an eye.
This species of praying mantis has its natural range in sub-Saharan Africa. Read all about caring for Pseudocreobotra wahlbergii mantises in this caresheet.
An adult female Spiny Flower Mantis Pseudocreobotra wahlbergii
Appearance of the Spiny Flower Mantis :
This species of flower mantis is white with green stripes on the legs. The eyes are purple, depending on the light conditions this can vary from lilac to deep purple. As nymphs these mantids have an orange spot on the upside of the abdomen which scares away predators by mimicking an eye. As adults they have wings with a black and yellow ‘swirl’ on them, also mimicking an eye. If you threaten a spiny flower mantis, it will put its wings upwards to show the two eyes. The thinner wings that are under the top wings are bright yellow. The spiny flower mantis is very beautiful and spectacular.
When the nymphs are born they are black in color. They stay blackish until L3 instar stage. After this stage they are mostly orange-pink spotted and become more and more white which each subsequent molt.
Spiny Flower Mantids are approximately 4 to 5 inches cm as adults. Males and females look pretty similar in this species.
Spiny Flower Mantis adult female
Behavior of the Spiny Flower Mantis
This species is fairly quiet, but can also actively hunt their prey once they have spotted it. Some individuals are easily agitated and will display their wings at the slightest disturbance, while other individuals almost never show their thread display.
Because of their size this mantis cannot be fed large prey items like adult locusts. It is best to feed them moths and flies instead of crickets.
The head of an adult female Spiny Flower Mantis Pseudocreobotra wahlbergii
The ideal temperature is about 26 ° C, but can vary between 25 ° C and 30 ° C. At night the temperature should be at least 18 ° C.
This species has no very high demands on the humidity, but too much moisture is deadly to them because of infections. Spray about 3 times a week with clean water. Drinking from the water droplets is important for this species. Proper ventilation is crucial, and mold should be avoided at all times for this species. Especially the adults may do better in a dry environment than a too wet environment. The air humidity should be around 60%.
As with all species of praying mantis, this species needs an enclosure that is at least 3 times the length of the animal in height, and at least 2x the length of the animal in width. For an adult this means is at least 15 cm in height and 10 cm in width. A nice size for a terrarium would be 20 x 15 x 15 cm (hxwxd), so there is room for lots of fake plants and perches. Especially white or yellow plastic flower look amazing in an enclosure with this species of mantis, as the mantis will blend into the environment of the flowers really well.
An adult female Spiny Flower Mantis Pseudocreobotra wahlbergii
This species is cannibalistic, like most species of praying mantis. It will eat anything that moves and is the correct size, also members of its own species or family members. Young nymphs (up to L4) can be kept together, but the older they are the more likely they will eat each other.
A subadult nymph of the Spiny Flower Mantis – Pseudocreobotra wahlbergii
A look at the wing pattern of a Spiny Flower Mantis Pseudocreobotra wahlbergii. This female had eaten too much, making it temporary impossible for her to close her wings properly. The wing pattern could align on both wings.
Breeding and sexing Spiny Flower Mantises :
This species is not very easy breed, but if you have experience with other species it is possible. The female can be very aggressive, so make sure it has eaten enough when male is introduced to her enclosure.
The females of this species are larger, heavier and broader than males. The sex of the mantis can be determined by looking at the segments on its abdomen. In later nymphal stages it may be noticed that the males remain smaller and have thicker antennae than the females. As adults you can distinguish males and females by the length of the wings. A female has wings almost to end of the abdomen, while the male has wings that reach past the abdomen. The antennae of the male are much longer and thicker than those of the female. The egg sacs must be kept in the same way as the mantis itself. Beware of mold, it arises from an excessively damp environment. Approximately 30 to 55 nymphs may come out of one ootheca.
A Spiny Flower Mantis showing the yellow at the underside of her wings