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Idolomantis diabolica

Devil's flower mantis

Idolomantis diabolica adult female display

General Information

Scientific name: Idolomantis diabolica
Common name: Devil's flower mantis
Distribution: Ethiopia, Somalia, Tanzania, Kenia
Size: Female up to 11 cm
Male up to 10 cm
Livespan: Female up to 1,5 years
Male up to 1 year
Colour variations: None (nymphs brown, adults turquoise)
Aggressivity: Low*
Difficulty: Difficult

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


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

First description (year): SAUSSURE (1899)


Enclosure (LxWxH):

  • Single-housing: from 30 x 30 x 30 cm
  • Group-housing: from 50 x 50 x 50 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.

Days 28 - 35 °C, nights room temperature (below 18°C no problem)

Relative humidity:
~ 40 - 50 %


  • Substrate: Soil, sand, kitchen paper, gravel, coco humus etc. (animals seldom stay on the ground)
  • Many thick and thin branches (also horizontal/bent) with ~ 0,5 - 1,0 cm diameter and pieces of bark. 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) and small
Greenbottle flies
L2-L4 Greenbottle flies
L5 - adult Bluebottle flies

Adult females prefer big flying insects like e.g. moths.

Feeder insects in the shop...

Gender Determination

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


  • subadult/adult: Antennae of males much thicker (feathered) than of females


Adult stage (= full-grown + winged):
Females in L10, males in L9
Amount of moults variates (especially under abnormal temperatures or injuries)

Sexually mature after adult moult:
Males ~ 2 weeks
Females ~ 3 - 4 weeks

Copulation duration:
~ 2 - 5 hours

Oothecae (egg-cases)
Size: ~ 4 - 5 cm
Form: oval/squarish
Colour: light brown
Oviposition place: preferred on thick branches or bark
First ooth after adult moult: ~ 4 - 5 weeks
Interval: ~ 14 - 20 days
Amount: up to 6 oothecae

Incubation and hatch
Duration: ~ 5 - 8 weeks
Temperatures like animals (see above), rel. humidity over 50% (with good ventilation)
Nymph quantity: up to 100 (average 50)
Size freshly hatched (L1): ~ 1 cm

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


To keep the Great Devil's Flower Mantis you have to pay attention to a few things. A minimum temperature of 28 ° C should not be undercut for a longer period, otherwise the growth goes to zero and the animals slowly die. Also with the food they are rather special. Only flying food such as moths and flies should be fed. Crickets and grasshoppers are bad for them and are only caught when hungry.

Since the animals are relatively large, the terrarium must not be set too tight, so that for a moult the double body length down is free. Nevertheless, the walls and ceiling of the terrarium should be lined with branches or cork so they can hold on tight. They belong to the Empusidae, at which the adhesion organs are missing at the tarsae (feet) and thus they can not hold on smooth surfaces (such as glass). Metal gauze is not suitable because they can tear off the tarsae. Better suited is cotton or plastic gauze.

In all larval stages, the animals are brown and only in the adult stage they develop their turquoise-white-violet-green colours. So they are well camouflaged as larvae in their natural range in the dry phase. Only in the rainy season do they skin (moult) to the adult animal.

Keep subadult animals at higher humidity to trigger adult moult!


  • Own expercience
  • www.swissmantis.ch (November 2007) Website not available anymore

Often available in the shop.