The devil praying mantis otherwise known as the devil flower mantis is one of the rarest and most beautiful African flower-type praying mantis species initially collected from Tanzania and Kenya.
Below are facts that you certainly did not know of the devil praying mantis.
How Do I Identify the Devil Flower Mantis?
Their eerie similarity to a flower is all that is implied by their poetic moniker. Often disguised as dead leaves, they are able to discover their food quickly because insects are completely unaware of them.
The males and females of this species exhibit slightly differing colors, sizes, antennae, and other morphological characteristics, which is a result of sexual dysmorphism.
The female’s body will grow to a length of 5.11 inches or 13 centimeters. Males can grow to a maximum height of 11 cm (4.33 inches) and have a much more slender build.
This species’ newly hatched nymphs are all glossy and black in color, which helps them blend in with their surroundings. Light brown to beige in hue, the nymphs become as they age.
Male and female nymphs do not have the intricate patterns on their backs that are visible in adulthood at this stage.
As a result, their backs acquire a shield-like pattern that resembles dried leaves. When fully mature, they have a white and green striped pattern on their skin.
Adults have red, black, white, and blue markings as they raise their wings. In some cases, the female’s colors may appear brighter than those of the male.
The antennae of the male and female Devil’s Flower Mantis are more easily distinguished. Antennae of the male are lengthy and fluffy, while those of the female are much more compact.
Counting the segments on the nymphs’ abdomens might also help you determine their gender. In females, there are five segments, while in males, there are eight.
What is the Lifecycle of the Devil Praying Mantis?
The mature Devil’s flower mantis is ready to reproduce and lay eggs by the second week of its life cycle. They require plenty of food throughout this time.
The antennae of men are used to detect the pheromones generated by females who are ready to mate, and this is how males discover their partners.
Females may lose their desire to mate when a man approaches them for the first time because they are such wary animals. But after a while, they will mate, usually throughout the night.
The eggs are enclosed in a frothy sac called the ootheca. Within a few days of mating, she begins laying eggs, and the succeeding clutches are laid over the course of the next three weeks.
Sadly, the older nymphs are eaten by the adults, although one ootheca can yield anywhere from 10 to 50 nymphs. It takes the eggs 50 days to turn into nymphs and these eggs hatch in the springtime.
The nymphs do not linger around since soon after hatching they take off to fend for themselves. Many are lost to predators during this time. The female mantis endures eight molts whereas the males undergo seven molts.
The life cycle of this species is only a year. But in captivity within a regulated environment where they are free from predators, they may live slightly longer.
If you intend to keep a mantis as a pet, you should get the nymphs rather than adult insects. You can grow them for a time as you also grow in your knowledge and expertise in caring for them.
What Does the Devil’s Flower Mantis Eat?
This praying mantis, like other mantis species, is a carnivore. But it consumes only flies. In captivity, you must ensure that its food consists solely of flies. Every day, release at least five flies for an adult mantis.
Typically, two flies are sufficient for a nymph. They have a voracious appetite, so do not deprive them of food for too long. When hunting in captivity, the Devil’s Flower mantis covers its colorful wings, opting instead to resemble a dry leaf or flower.
It also uses the white and green stripes on its body to blend in with the vegetation. This species is an ambush predator, therefore it waits for the insect to pass by before capturing and digesting it in midair.
While hunting, the mantis will remain immobile until its prey flies past. They do not seek out food. This praying mantis demands regular water as well. In the wild, they will drink from plant droplets.
In the wild, they sip from plant dewdrops. In captivity, its enclosure can be misted once per day to ensure they have sufficient water. They consume water droplets adequate for their hydration needs.
Use distilled or spring water and never tap water. The younger nymphs feed on fruit flies, whilst the adult nymphs consume blue and green bottle flies.
It is essential to never overcrowd their enclosure with flies, as they are a shy species. In addition, an abundance of food inhibits their molting.
Read also: Can Bearded Dragons Eat Praying Mantis?
Can the Devil Praying Mantis Be Kept as a Pet?
Additionally, the right kind of lighting is critical in fostering the growth of these insects. You can consider a reptile lamp that offers lighting which delivers sufficient light for heat-prone critters like lizards.
With the reptile lamp, you have bulbs that supply both light and heat as necessary by your mantis. Alternatively, a ceramic heat emitter can satisfy their requirement for heat and light.
If you are using a ceramic heater make sure you also acquire a thermostat to manage the heat because ceramic can get very hot. A 60-watt incandescent bulb in a table lamp has been found to function just as well by some users.
But, remember to only heat areas of the cage and not the full cage. The mantis should be able to flee the warmth to colder places as needed.
After all, it is what it would do in the natural and you want to mimic their wild surroundings as much as possible. It is quite difficult to keep Devil’s Flower mantises in captivity because they need an extensive home to survive let alone thrive.
It’s possible, however, if you have the necessary tools. The Idolomantis Diabolica is a massive species, one of the largest in the animal kingdom. Due to its size, the enclosure needs to be a big one.
The enclosure’s height must be at least three times the mantis’s length in order to facilitate shedding. If the exuvial is any shallower, the mantis could get tangled up in the exuvial.
They are not a very active species, therefore an extremely large enclosure is not necessary. They’ll sit in the same position for days on end, whether it’s to hide their identity or to bask in the warm light.
A flower known for its ability to imitate floral forms must be provided for the Idolomantis. Silk plants are the ideal sort of foliage to utilize, as they are 100 percent free from any toxins.
Also, add some twigs, and other branches, for hanging purposes. When kitting out the enclosure, make sure it is not congested. If possible, keep one side of the tank nearly bare to allow for skin loss.
When grown, this does not matter, as the mantis will not undergo any more shedding of skin. It is advised to utilize a substrate, as for any alien mantis species.
Not only does it contribute to the aesthetic of the cage, but also it helps to keep humidity levels high. Soil or peat is the best substrate.
Also, a layer of compressed coconut fiber is a perfect substrate, as this is very clean, and you can be confident no sort of pesticide or any other dangerous chemicals will be there. This is especially beneficial for Idolomantis, which need extremely high levels of humidity.
What Do Pet Devil Praying Mantis Eat?
Maintaining the Idolomantis diet might be difficult. In the wild, they predominantly eat flying insects in Tanzania, so it’s best to try to mimic this diet as closely as possible in captivity.
Houseflies, moths, butterflies, beetles, lacewings, and any other flying insect are accessible. They will not take to ground dwellers, such as crickets, locusts, mealworms, and the normal live food that is easily available in the local pet store.
Not only does the mantis not take to these feeders, but also they are unsuitable to use as a staple food, especially when reproducing. To feed on flying prey, the devil praying mantis needs a steady supply of food.
Try and get a proper balance – overcrowding the enclosure may create stress on the mantis and could lead to complications with molting. Maggots purchased at pet stores can be used to hatch flies, which can then be gut loaded.
A fairly easy technique exists for gut loading the flies. Keep the pupae in an airy container, covered in a fine mesh lid. Keep the container warm, but do not spray the pupae.
As soon as the flies begin to hatch, place the soaked kitchen roll on top of the mesh lid. The flies will feed off this, and after about 3 days of this, they will have an adequate nutritional content to feed to the mantis.
Wild-caught insects will not need to be gut loaded, since they will have had a natural gut load in them already.
Is the Devil’s Flower Mantis Dangerous to Humans and Pets?
The devil’s flower mantis is not a hazard to human beings or to animals. They only feed on flies which has nothing to do with humans or pets.
In addition, because they don’t hunt for food, they’re absolutely safe. Having said that, the devil’s flower mantis does hunt insects like butterflies and bees which are vital pollinators in the ecology.
They aren’t truly regarded as a factor that can kill the population of these pollinators, though, because they don’t eat huge numbers of flies.
Did you know: The devil praying mantis goes into a dancing stance raising its body upwards and stretching its forelegs up to display the hidden flaps that feature a dazzling rainbow of colors.
Insects start shifting their wings from left to right as their flaps are visible. This strategy works for smaller prey and it scares them off.
What do you think of these facts? let us know in the comment section below.