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Hierodula majuscula

Giant rainforest mantis

Hierodula majuscula female arms

General Information

Scientific name: Hierodula majuscula
Common name: Giant rainforest mantis / Australian giant mantis
Distribution: Australia
Habitat: Rainforest
Size: Female up to 10 cm
Male up to 9 cm
Livespan: Female up to 2 years
Male up to 1,5 years
Colour variations: Adults always green, nymphs variate beween green, yellow and brown
Aggressivity: High*
Difficulty: Easy

*up to L4/L5 group-housing possible

Systematics

Order: Mantodea
Family: Mantidae
Subfamily: Mantinae
Tribe: Paramantini
Genus: Hierodula

First description (year):  TINDALE (1923)

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

 

Keeping

Species is suitable for free-range keeping

Enclosure (LxWxH):

  • Single-housing: from 20 x 20 x 30 cm
  • 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 22 – 30 °C, nights room temperature (below 18°C no problem)

Relative humidity:
~ 40 – 60 %

Set-up:

  • Substrate: Soil, sand, kitchen paper, gravel, coco humus etc. (animals seldom stay on the ground)
  • Branches (also horizontal/bent) with ~ 2 – 3 cm diameter.
  • Living or artificial plants (Beware of pesticides!)
  • Clean with vinegar or biodegradable glass cleaner (afterwards rinse with clear water)

Feeding Recommendation

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

Biology

Adult stage (= full-grown + winged):
Females + males in L10
Amount of moults variates (especially under abnormal temperatures or injuries)

Sexually mature after adult moult:
Males ~ 3 weeks
Females ~ 4 weeks

Copulation duration:
~ 3 hours

Oothecae (egg-cases)
Size: ~ 4-5 cm
Form: roundish/oval
Colour: light brown
Oviposition place: thick branches or bark
First ooth after adult moult: ~ 5 – 6 weeks
Interval: ~ 20 days
Amount: up to 5 oothecae

Incubation and hatch
Duration: ~ 5 – 7 weeks
Temperatures like animals (see above), rel. humidity over 50% (with good ventilation)
Nymph quantity: up to 150
Size freshly hatched (L1): ~ 5 mm

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

More

The Australian giant mantis is similar to the appearance of the Indian giant mantis (Hierodula membranacea), but it is easily distinguished from this by their red coloured inner sides of the fang arms even in small instars. Also, the larval stages of the Australian Giant Mantis are not always green as is typical in Hierodula membranacea. They can be bright yellow or reddish.

Since, like other species of the genus Hierodula, it also captures very large animals (up to its own size), the cannibalistic rate is high in the rearing of nymphs. Already from L3 they partially capture gold flies and attack each other.

Sources

  • Own experience

Often available in the shop.

Pictures

Hierodula majuscula mating (connected)
Hierodula majuscula female adult
Hierodula majuscula nymphs
Hierodula majuscula female 6 abdominal segments
Hierodula majuscula male adult
Hierodula majuscula oothecae
Hierodula majuscula L1
Hierodula majuscula L2
Hierodula majuscula L3
Hierodula majuscula male nymph dark