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Mantis species for beginners and care advice

In total, there are about 1,800 species of mantis in the world. Species of mantis range in size, colour, temperature, humidity. Some share similar care needs, some differ entirely. Some types of mantis are extremely hard to care for, whereas others care can be less complex. 

On this page, I will discuss the easiest breed of mantis to keep for beginners, or those who just want to keep a mantis who have easier care needs.   

Giant Asian Mantis(Hierodula Membranacea)

The Giant Asian Mantis is a very beautiful and easy species to keep. Compared to other mantis other keepers feel it looks plain and dull. However, this mantis can be brown or light green. The females grow to a whooping length of 8.5cm-9cm and the males 7cm-8cm. They are very highly recommended as a beginner species. This was the second species I kept and would love to keep more. This species has real character and charm.

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Feeding: All Mantis are primarily insectivores. Some can eat hummingbirds, but the Asian isn't one of them. Most, eat flies and locusts. The Asian Mantis at its lowest stage( L1-L2) is more suited to small Drosophila Hydei flies. Stage L3 to L4 has more frequency of fruit flies. L5 and above can be provided with medium fruit flies. L6 to L8 will take down larger prey, such as a blue or green bottle fly. They can even consume a locust. Do not ever try crickets with any mantis. They are notorious for attacking mantis, even when they are well fed.

Giant Asian Mantis Male(Moonlight)

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Remember, these flies must be captive-bred. Wild flies could have landed on plants covered in pesticides, therefore they will kill your mantis. Purchase Mantis food from sites like Mantis Mayhem, Northampton Reptile Centre, eBay( odd right, but you can get flies from there), Amazon, and Swell Reptile.

Behaviour: Unlike Ghosts, Dead Leaf Mantis, or the Indian Flower Mantis, the Asian mantis pursues its prey. It seeks and destroys. They are very curious and explore their habitat a lot. This species of Mantis is NOT to be housed together, unless you are breeding, but even then you should not leave the male alone in there too long, or she will devour him

Male Giant Asian Mantis(Henry)

Housing: The recommended enclosure dimensions for an Asian Mantis is 20x20x30. A net or glass Terrarium makes a good enclosure for the Asian Mantis. A net is known to be more suitable as it allows water vapour to escape quickly. The Asian Mantis has a relative humidity of 40%-60%, therefore it's good to keep it in an enclosure that has a few extra ventilation points, such as a net. Too much humidity can actually kill this mantis. Spray once a day only. Keep the temperature between 21 and 23 degrees. I recommend just kitchen roll as substrate, so you do not risk a big increase in humidity, thus death.

Your enclosure needs to contain perches, vines, or branches in order for the Asian Mantis to hang upside down and moult

Ghost Mantis(Phyllocrania Paradoxa)

Ghost Mantis(Phyllocrania Paradoxa) are one of the easiest Mantis to take care of, other than the Asian and African mantis. They don't require a high temperature but still need good humidity. Ghost Mantis are from Madagascar but can be found in continental Africa. Ghost Mantis come in a variety of colours: brown, black, sandy brown, and green. Phyllocrania Paradoxa has alien-like eyes, and different shaped heads, depending on their gender. They appear like a dry leaf, which is why others get mixed up between them and the Dead Leaf Mantis. 

Feeding: The Ghost Mantis mostly feeds on small flies. I suggest Drosophila hydei flies, or Turkish flies. As nymphs, feed them small fruit flies, then when they get to stage L4-L5 start to provide them with medium-sized flies. As adults, it can also eat micro crickets and locusts, but ensure that they are smaller than your mantises head, if bigger they can't be fed to your ghost. Just simply pour your flies in and your Ghost will eat it.

Housing: I recommend a wooden or glass terrarium with adequate ventilation. The dimensions recommended for this species is 20cmx20cmx30cm. Their prefered temperature is 26 degrees, but they can stand anywhere between 20 and 30. They can drop down to 18 degrees at night, but don't let the temperature lower too much as this will kill them. Use a heat mat of about 7W to provide some heat. Add logs, branches, and leaf litter to enable the mantis to exhibit its natural behaviour. Spray the enclosure 1-2 times for humidity. Their relative humidity is 60% to 90%.

Sexing Ghost Mantis

Telling the difference between female and male is fairly easy. You can tell if your little ghost is male or female by looking at the width and thickness of their antenna. Thin and small antenna indicate your mantis is female, thick and long antenna means they are male. As they age, you can count the sections of the abdomen. From L4 their gender can be identified. Normally the females have five or six sections on their abdomen, whereas males have seven or more. This method can be used for all manti.

However, with the ghost mantis determining gender is easier. Their heads are different shapes. Males have a twisted cone as their heads, whereas females have one which looks slightly bent but the top is flat. You can also tell by the size of the ghosts prothorax(the first section of the thorax, anatomy will be covered somewhere else). Females have a bigger prothorax than male phyllocrania paradoxa. The females are also a lot bigger than the males. Below is a picture of the different sized heads.

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Male Phyllocrania Paradoxa(L4)- They have a twisted cone on the head. 

Female Phyllocrania Paradoxa- They have a slightly bent to the side cone.

Often in mantis species, the female mantis is often much bigger than the male. However, with the ghost mantis, they both reach approximately 5cm. Adult males tend to have a thinner body and wings that reach past the abdomen, whereas female Phyllocrania Paradoxa are thicker and have wings that reach the edge of the abdomen. 

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Adult Female- See the wings, they just touch the very end of the abdomen. She is fairly thick as well. 

Indian Flower Mantis( Creobroter PictiPennis)

The Indian Flower Mantis( Creobroter Pictipennis) is found in India, as the name suggests. They are one of many Flower Manti. There are other types of flower mantis, such as the Orchid mantis the Malaysian Flower Mantis, which are a lot bigger than the Indian Flower Mantis. 

 

The size range Indian Flower mantis females reach 4cm, but males only 3cm. Both fly and do so when started.

Behaviour: They are timid and easily scared. They move quickly. Easy to handle, though do so carefully, and try not to startle them as they will fly away. The wings come in when they become adults. Most species of mantis can't be kept together. There are only a few breeds of mantis that can live together. Indian mantis is not one of these. Never put these in an enclosure together. They will kill each other! Their wings have a yellow circle, which looks like a smiley face. This is to scare away birds that hunt it.

Housing: A large terrarium isn't needed as Indian Flower Mantis are so small. However, they need a relative humidity of 60% to 80%, and a temperature of 25 degrees, so a net cage is a bad idea. The holes in the net cause water vapour to swiftly evaporate out the enclosure; therefore, humidity drops. At the same time, a glass tank keeps in water vapour and heat. A size of about 15x10x10 is recommended.

Feeding: Highly recommended to stay away from crickets. Crickets are way too big for the little mantis. They eat flies. I feed mine fruit flies, specifically Drosophila hydei flies and sometimes Turkish flies. As adults, they can eat those ones or even a green bottle fly.

Sexing Indian Flower Mantis-Telling the difference between female and male is fairly easy. You can tell if your little flower is male or female by looking at the width and thickness of its antenna. Thin and small antenna indicate your mantis is female; thick and long antenna means they are male. As they age, you can count the sections of the abdomen. From L4, their gender can be identified. Normally the females have five sections on their abdomen, whereas males have seven. This method can be used for all manti. 

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Adult Indian Flower Mantis adult

L3 Nymph

Summary

There are many amazing mantis species, but these are just a few top beginner suggestions. Keep these before keeping mantis species such as Orchid and The Devils Flower Mantis. These are very difficult mantis for beginners and I recommend you go for one of the top 3. Overall, I feel like Giant Asian Mantis are a great first mantis. However, my first mantis was the Ghost Mantis, which was also fairly easy to take care of. 

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