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Blepharopsis mendica

Thistle mantis

Blepharopsis mendica female adult

General Information

Scientific name: Blepharopsis mendica
Common name: Thistle mantis / Egyptian flower mantis / Arab mantis
Verbreitung: Northafrica, Southwest Asian, Turkey, Canary Islands
Distribution: Dry forests, rocks and semi deserts
Size: Females ~ 6 cm
Males ~ 5,5 cm
Livespan: Female up to 1,5 years
Male up to 1 year
Colour variations: Basics white with brown, turquoise or green mesh pattern
Aggressivity: Middle*
Difficulty: Middle (heat-loving)

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

Systematics

Order:  Mantodea
Family:  Empusidae
Subfamily:  Blepharodinae
Genus:  Empusini

Subspecies of this species (similar housing and appearance):

  • Unterart Blepharopsis mendica mendica FABRICIUS (1775)
  • Unterart Blepharopsis mendica nuda GIGLIO-TOSS (1917)

Keeping

Enclosure (LxWxH):

  • Single-housing: from 20 x 20 x 20 cm
  • Group-housing: from 30 x 30 x 40 cm for 3 – 4 adults
  • Small nymphs can be reared in smaller enclosures (for moulting they need twice their body length free space downwards)

Temperature:
Days 30 – 40 °C, nights room temperature (below 18°C no problem)

Relative humidity:
~ 30 – 40 %, sometimes 60 % with good ventilation. Spray very rarely!

Set-up:

  • Substrate: Soil, sand, kitchen paper, gravel, coco humus etc. (animals seldom stay on the ground)
  • Branches (also horizontal/bent) with ~ 0,5 – 1,0 cm diameter. Due to missing adhesion organs at the tarsae of this genus the animals cannot hold on flat surfaces. Make sure they can climb on branches to the top!
  • Gaze under the lid recommended. Do not use metal gaze because this can damage their claws!
  • Living or artificial plants (Beware of pesticides!)
  • Clean with vinegar or biodegradable glass cleaner (afterwards rinse with clear water)

 

Feeding Recommendation

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

This species also feeds on crawling insects like crickets/roaches etc.

Feeder insects in the shop…

Gender Determination

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

Außerdem

  • subadult/adult: Antennae of males much thicker (feathered) then of females
  • from L3/L4: Females have 5 visible abdominal appendances (“spines at the belly”), males 6 appendances (and last one usually smaller)

Biology

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 ~ 7 -10 days
Females ~ 10 – 14 days

Copulation duration:
~ 2 – 6 hours

Oothecae (egg-cases)
Size: up to 2,0 cm
Form: roundish & long (box-shaped) covered in fine foam, with small thread at the end
Colour: light brown/yellowish
Oviposition place: thick branches or flat surfaces
First ooth after adult moult: ~ 14 days
Interval: ~ 10 days
Amount: up to 10 oothecae

Incubation and hatch
Duration: ~ 4 weeks
Temperatures like animals (see above), rel. humidity ~ 30 – 50 % (with good ventilation)
Nymph quantity: up to 60 (average 30)
Size freshly hatched (L1): ~ 4 mm

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

More

This species needs a hot and dry environment. It is often called the “small sister” of Idolomantis diabolica, whereas Blepharopsis mendica can also be fed with crawling insects like grasshoppers and crickets.

Animals of Turkey and the Canary Islands need a diapause for proper development (~ 15 – 20°C in the subadult stage over some weeks with higher humdity and shorter light duration of ~ 6 – 8 hours a day).

The animals bred by M&m Wüst originate from constant warm regions and therefore do not need a diapause.

Sources

  • Own expercience

Often available in the shop.

Pictures

Blepharopsis mendica female subadult
Blepharopsis mendica male subadult
Blepharopsis mendica male pre-subadult
Blepharopsis mendica L2
Blepharopsis mendica oothecae
Blepharopsis mendica nymphs
Blepharopsis mendica female subadult
Blepharopsis mendica male adult