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Gongylus gongylodes

Wandering violin mantis

Gongylus gongylodes female adult

General Information

Scientific name: Gongylus gongylodes
Common name: Wanderings violin mantis / Ornate mantis / Indian rose mantis
Distribution: Southeast Asia (mainly Sri Lanka, Java, Thailand and India)
Habitat: Sunny and hot clearings and grassland
Size: Female ~ 10 cm
Male ~ 8 cm
Livespan: Female up to 1,5 years
Male up to 1 year
Colour variations: light brown, dark brown, light green, light yellow
Aggressivity: Low*
Difficulty: Middle (food specialist & heat loving)

*group-housing in all stages possible
No guarantee against cannibalism! Always feed very well – especially adult females.

Systematics

Order:  Mantodea
Family:  Empusidae
Subfamily:  Empusinae
Tribe:  Empusini
Genus:  Gongylus

First description (year): LINNÉ (1758)

More species of this genus (similar keeping and appearance):

  • Gongylus trachelophyllus (BURMEISTER, 1838) with heart shaped neck shield

Keeping

Enclosure (LxWxH):

  • Single-housing: from 20 x 20 x 30 cm
  • Group-housing: from 30 x 30 x 30 cm for 3 – 4 adults
  • 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.

Temperature:
Days 28 – 35°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 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 Big fruit flies (Drosophila hydei) + small Greenbottle flies
L2-L5 Greenbottle flies
L6 to adult Bluebottle flies

This species should not be fed with 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).

Additionally:

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

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 ~ 2 weeks
Females ~ 3 weeks

Copulation duration:
over 15 minutes

Oothecae (egg-cases)
Size: up to 4 cm
Form: box shaped and covered in foam
Colour: white (very light yellowish brown)
Oviposition place: flat surfaces or thick branches / bark
First ooth after adult moult: ~ 4 weeks
Interval: ~ 7 – 10 days
Amount: up to 20 oothecae

Incubation and hatch
Duration: ~ 4 – 6 weeks
Temperatures like animals (see above), rel. humidity ~ 30 – 50% (with good ventilation)
Nymph quantity: ~ 15 – 20
Size freshly hatched (L1): ~ 1 cm

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

More

The Wandering violin mantis belongs like Idolomantis diabolica to the group of Empusidae, which do not have adhesion organs at the end of their legs (tarsae). So the enclosure set-up should comprise many branches from the bottom to the top and/or cork cover at the walls.

This species prefers relatively small flying insects so they can be cept communal.

Males can fly quite long disctances!

Sources

  • Own expercience

Often available in the shop.

Pictures

Gongylus gongylodes male adult
Gongylus gongylodes adult female feeding
Gongylus gongylodes female display
Gongylus gongylodes nymphs
Gongylus gongylodes green morph
Gongylus gongylodes oothecae
Gongylus gongylodes L1
Gongylus gongylodes L3 male
Gongylus gongylodes L4 male
Gongylus gongylodes L4 female
Gongylus gongylodes female pre-subadult
Gongylus gongylodes subadult male
Gongylus gongylodes female subadult