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Sibylla pretiosa

Cryptic mantis

Sibylla pretiosa female adult

General Information

Scientific name: Sibylla pretiosa
Common name: Cryptic mantis
Distribution: East Afrika
Habitat: Trees (bark and branches) in savannahs
Size: Females ~ 5 cm
Males ~ 3,5 - 4 cm
Livespan: Female ~ 1 year
Male less then 1 year
Colour variations: None
Aggressivity: Low*
Difficulty: Middle (requires warmth)

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


Order: Mantodea
Family: Sibyllidae
Subfamily: Sibyllinae
Genus: Sibylla

First description (year): STÅL (1856)

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

  • Sibylla dives (GIGLIO-TOS, 1915)
  • Sibylla dolosa (ROY, 1975)


Enclosure (LxWxH):

  • Single-housing: from 15 x 15 x 20 cm
  • Group-housing: from 30 x 30 x 30 cm for 2 couples
  • 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 28 - 32 °C, night room temperature (below 18°C no problem)

Relative humidity:
~ 40 - 50 %, spray twice a week


  • Substrate: Soil, sand, kitchen paper, gravel, coco humus etc. (animals seldom stay on the ground)
  • Branches (also horizontal/bent) with ~ 0,5 cm diameter and dry leaves
  • 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

Feeder insects in the shop...

Gender Determination

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


  • from L3/L4: Females have 5 visible abdominal appendances ("spines at the belly"), males 6 appendances (and last one usually smaller)


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

Sexually mature after adult moult:
Males ~ 5 days
Females ~ 10 days

Copulation duration:
~ 30 min

Oothecae (egg-cases)
Size: ~ 1 cm (max. 1,5 cm)
Form: round/oval, square
Colour: dark yellow-brown
Oviposition place: Downside of leaves or flat surfaces
First ooth after adult moult: from 15 days
Interval: ~ 5 - 10 days
Amount: up to 15 oothecae

Incubation and hatch
Duration: ~ 4 - 5 weeks
Temperatures like animals (see above), rel. humidity over 50% (with good ventilation)
Nymph quantity: up to 30
Size freshly hatched (L1): ~ 5 mm
Appearance after hatching: black&white with brown stripes

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


A heat-loving and delicate species, which is often kept in groups without problems. Flying insects should be the main food source. However, they also catch crawling prey like small crickets.

Fresh nymphs should be kept in a slightly more humid environment than adults (spray gently every second day at the beginning) and also do not keep them above 30°C.


  • Own expercience
  • www.mantisonline.de (October 2017)

Often available in the shop.