The Ghost mantis is known for many amazing behaviours and one of them is their ability to camouflage so as to appear as dead, dried-up leaf material.
The ghost praying mantis blends well with dead leaves in the wild. Birds and other predators tend to ignore insects that look similar. By remaining still, the ghost praying mantis will go unnoticed.
Do you want to find out more about the Ghost praying mantis? keep reading then!
How Do I Describe the Ghost Mantis?
The Ghost mantis Phyllocrania paradoxa mimics withered leaves by covering its dark body with leaf-like decorations.
It has an asymmetrical cone on its head that distorts its body outline so it looks more like a tree leaf.
It camouflages itself in the forest of Madagascar or Africa, among the fallen leaves. While waiting for prey, they can hide from predators like insect-eating birds.
This praying mantis is usually dark brown in colour, but you may also find lighter brown, reddish-brown or green specimens.
A more humid environment will make the skin appear greener, however, some people are more prone to changing color.
Males will develop faster and need six moults rather than seven. The males and females are adults when they reach L8. Before they become adults, both sexes are without wings.
Phyllocrania paradoxa grows to about 5 cm in length as an adult. There is little difference between the sexes. Males are much lighter than females.
The males have longer wings that extend past the abdomen. The females are larger and bulkier. The females have a larger prothorax, and their wings only extend to the end of the abdominal region.
The antennae of the male adult are longer than the ones of the female. In older nymph stadia, the difference in sexes is also visible because the males’ heads are more indented.
Read also: How to Get Rid of Ghost Ants
How Do I Describe the Behaviour of the Ghost Mantis?
The Ghost Mantis is an extremely quiet praying mantis. It is the typical predator that sits and waits. It relies on its camouflage to wait patiently for unknowing prey.
She will strike very quickly once she has seen her prey. The prey is already stuck in the predator’s claws before he realizes it.
It will not actively pursue its prey. Instead, it will wait for the right moment to strike. It prefers to eat flying prey and is a specialist in this area.
This type of praying mantis can be easily intimidated and scared by its prey. Males will run away rather than attack large prey.
This mantis can also be made to refuse prey by using large tweezers, or even the owner’s hand. If this occurs during a feeding, wait 15 minutes and then try again.
Ghost mantises are less likely to attack each other because they prefer to eat flies. Ghost mantises, unlike other mantis types, can live together in a single enclosure.
Ghost mantises are born looking like black ants. They behave the same. They are very active.
They will no longer be black but will turn brown. They will also look like leaves, and they will stop moving as much. Male adults can be easily frightened and will pretend to be dead if they are disturbed.
What Makes Up the Diet of the Ghost Mantis?
In nature, Phyllocrania paradoxa mainly eats flies. It is therefore better to feed Ghost mantis flies rather than crickets.
This species of mantis will also eat small insects such as grasshoppers, crickets, and other insects. The mantis’ head should be about the same size as its prey.
It is less able to capture large prey because it’s not as strong. A female adult can easily eat an adult cricket, but I would prefer to give them grasshoppers or smaller flies.
The smaller or larger fruit flies will be eaten by the newborn ghost mantises.
Read also: Facts About the Devil Praying Mantis
How Do I Describe Mating in Ghost Mantids?
A mating attempt is recommended approximately 2 to 4 weeks following the last moult. Be sure to feed the female before introducing the man.
You don’t have to do anything special to get these mantids to mate. Mantids mate at the right time, but you won’t see it because they do so at night.
It is rare that a female cannibalizes the male during mating. The ootheca has 20 to 60 eggs and is sand-coloured. Adult mantises should be treated the same way.
The temperature will determine how long it takes for them to hatch. You are too dry if the nymphs can’t get out of the egg bag when they hatch. For any future ootheca, increase the air humidity.
Can the Ghost Mantis Be Bred as Pets?
Most insect enthusiasts can breed this species because it is not difficult to maintain. Focus on creating a good environment, and they’ll take care of the rest.
You need to start by finding a male and a female around the same age. The differences between males are easy to see, especially when they grow older. The females are a little larger and wider than the males.
This difference is already visible in older nymphs. You can see the sex differences by looking at the antennae.
The base of the male antennae is wider, and their antennae are also longer. A keen eye can easily distinguish between the sexes from around L4 (4th instar).
What Environmental Conditions Would Be Ideal For Breeding the Ghost Mantis?
Ghost mantis prefer temperatures between 20 and 30 degrees Celsius. However, any temperature in the range of 20 to 30 degrees is acceptable. Temperatures can drop during the night but must not fall below 18 degrees C.
This species prefers relatively high humidity levels. The RV (relative humidity) should range between 60% and 90%. You can achieve this by spraying water on the enclosure about five times per week.
This species of mantis’ enclosure should be 3 times as long in height and 2x its length in width.
Adults should have a minimum of 15 cm height and 10 cm width. The ideal size for a Terrarium is 20 x 20 x 30 cm. This will allow for plenty of space to add fake plants and perches.
This mantis looks great with the addition of beautiful autumn leaves to the terrarium. They can be difficult to spot because they are so well camouflaged!
You can try to attract green ghost mantises rather than brown ones by decorating the enclosure with green plants.
Read also: Do Praying Mantises Fly?
Tip-Off: Is Cannibalism An Issue When Breeding the Ghost Praying Mantis?
This species of ghost mantis has a special “feature”, which is that it can be kept with other mantises in a single enclosure without any cannibalism.
Even if food is plentiful, another mantis will still attack and eat one another. Ghost mantids are usually quiet and non-aggressive.
When food runs out, mantids may also attack each other. You cannot mix animals with too many differences in instar.
A large group of Ghost Mantids can make a stunning sight. Remember that cannibalism may be rare, but it still exists.