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Acanthops falcata

South American dead leaf mantis

General Information

Scientific name: Acanthops falcata
Common name: South American dead leaf mantis / Boxer mantis
Distribution: South America
Habitat: Shrubs
Size: Female ~ 6 cm
Male ~ 6 cm
Livespan: Female up to 1,5 years
Male up to 1 year
Colour variations: None
Aggressivity: Middle*
Difficulty: Middle

*up to L4/L5 group-housing possible möglich (males until adulthood also in groups)


Order: Mantodea
Family: Acanthopidae
Genus: Acanthops


Enclosure (LxWxH):

  • Single-housing: from 20 x 20 x 20 cm
  • Group-housing: from 30 x 30 x 30 cm for ~ 3 adult males
  • Small nymphs can be reared in smaller enclosures (for moulting they need twice their body length free space downwards)

Two ventilation areas (gaze at top + front) adviced to prevent waterglogging.

Day 25 - 30 °C, night room temperature (below 18°C no problem)

Relative humidity:
~ 50 - 60 %


  • Substrate: Soil, sand, kitchen paper, gravel, coco humus etc. (animals seldom stay on the ground)
  • Branches (also horizontal/bent) with dry leafes
  • Living or artificial plants (Beware of pesticides!)
  • Clean with vinegar or biodegradable glass cleaner (rinse with clear water)

Feeding Recommendation

L1/L2 Small fruit flies (Drosophila melanogaster)
L3/L4 Big fruit flies (Drosophila hydei)
L5/L6 Greenbottle flies
L7 to adult Green- and Bluebottle flies

Feeder insects in the shop...

Gender Determination

In general: 8 visible sternites (ventral segments) at males, 6 at females (compare with Hierodula membranacea).


  • adult: Females thicker and abdomen bent to the top, males thin with wings reaching over abdominal end.


Adult stage (= full-grown + winged):
Females in L9, males in L8
Amount of moults variates (especially under abnormal temperatures or injuries)

Sexually mature after adult moult:
Males ~ 1 - 2 weeks
Females ~ 2 - 3 Wochen

Copulation duration:

Oothecae (egg-cases)
Size: ~ 6 cm
Form: long, bent, on a fine thread built in the air
Colour: dark brown
Oviposition place: Branches
First ooth after adult moult: -
Interval: ~ 7 - 14 days
Amount: up to 15 oothecae

Incubation and hatch
Duration: ~ 3 - 4 weeks
Temperatures like animals (see above), rel. humidity over 50% (with good ventilation)
Nymph quantity: up to 40
Size freshly hatched (L1): ~ 3 - 4 mm

All given information only for orientation. Actual facts always depend on temperature and food availibility etc.!


A very special species! Males and females distinguish in adult stages very much (sexual dimorphism). However, both imitate dry leaves. Females can show their colourful wings at its display.

It is also called Boxer mantis.

As it is a quite small species, nymphs need very small food for a long time (fruit flies up to L4)!


  • Own expercience