Devil's Flower Mantis Species Guide for Exotic Pet Owners

Devil's Flower Mantis Species Guide for Exotic Pet Owners
Table Of Content

An Introduction to the Devil's Flower Mantis

The Devil's Flower mantis (Idolomantis diabolica) is a fascinating species of praying mantis with a striking appearance. Named after the flower-like structure on its raptorial forelegs that resembles a flower, this mantis is also nicknamed the Bouquet mantis or Orchid mantis. Native to Africa, the Devil's Flower mantis has garnered significant interest among exotic pet enthusiasts and entomology hobbyists alike for its unique look and predatory habits.

Appearance and Behavior

Most striking about the Devil's Flower mantis is its coloration and patterns. Ranging from greens to pinks in color, these mantises have ornate designs that provide excellent camouflage among flowers and foliage. Females tend to be larger and bulkier than males. They use their raptorial forelegs decorated like flowers to attract prey within striking distance. The Devil's Flower mantis is an ambush predator that waits stealthily for unsuspecting insects to come along before swiftly capturing them with specialized legs.

Habitat and Diet

In the wild, these mantises inhabit rainforests and tropical environments in Africa. They prefer staying well-camouflaged among orchids and flowering vegetation while lying in wait for prey. Being such effective ambush predators, they can tackle insects nearly their own size. Some of their common prey items include butterflies, moths, flies, bees, beetles and even small vertebrates.

The Devil's Flower mantis enjoys varied diets in captivity too. It does well on a diet of flies, roaches, moths, crickets, grasshoppers and other appropriately sized feeder insects. These mantises seem to have occasional problems tackling crickets but generally take down most insects with ease.

Availability in the Exotic Pet Trade

Due to their stunning appearance coupled with fascinating predatory behaviors, Devil's Flower mantises have grown in popularity over the years among exotic pet owners. They may not be very common but certainly create quite a bit of demand thanks to social media attention driving interest toward these beauties.

Buying Captive-Bred Specimens

Those interested in getting a Devil's Flower mantis as a pet will likely need to search around a bit since they are not the most common species. There are breeders working with these African natives though, making captive-bred specimens available on sites like Etsy or even big box pet stores on occasion.

If you see Devil's Flower mantis ootheca for sale (egg cases), this usually indicates captive bred stock. Wild caught specimens are rarer since export regulations have tightened for insects from regions like Africa. Going with captive bred allows the species to thrive while offering pet owners healthy mantises already accustomed to captivity.

Costs of Ownership

Expect to invest around $30-$60 on average to purchase a captive bred Devil's Flower mantis nymph. They may sometimes be pricier when availability is low and demand outpaces limited captive bred stock. These exotic pets do not require very complex housing or upkeep though.

A well-ventilated enclosure with mesh sides, substrate for molting and foliage for hiding/perching offers everything a Devil's Flower mantis needs. They will cost mostly just feeder insect investment over time. With proper care, these fascinating mantises can live 4-7 months on average.

Caring for Your Devil's Flower Mantis

Despite needing some specialized care considerations, the Devil's Flower mantis can make for very rewarding display pets. Their unique appearance and predatory behaviors make them endlessly interesting to watch. For the best chances of success though, there are some habitat, feeding and handling tips to keep in mind.

Housing Your Mantis

These exotic African mantises do best at temperature ranges between 75-85°F generally. Warm temperatures are particularly vital for nymphs to grow properly. Enclosure size depends on mantis size but most adult females need at least 8”x8”x12” vertically oriented mesh cages. Adding sticks, foliage and bark offers necessary climbing and molting surfaces.

Feeding and Nutrition

Variety is key for feeding the Devil’s Flower mantis in captivity. Crickets, grasshoppers, roaches, moths, butterflies and house flies make great staple feeders. Feed 1-2 prey items every other day based on appetite and size. Make sure to gut load feeders for added nutrition. The occasional waxworm, mealworm or fruit fly treat maintains strong appetite levels long-term.

Special Handling Considerations

While Devil’s Flower mantises may look delicate, gentle handling will not harm them significantly. Avoid grabbing at their raptorial arms specifically and do not drop from heights. Let them walk calmly from hand to hand instead of restricting movements. Some individuals tolerate handling more than others but respect signs of distress like reared up poses.

Overall, for experienced exotic pet owners, the Devil’s Flower can prove a stunning display species perfect for getting an up close look at nature’s ambush predator masterpieces!


What is the lifespan of a Devil's Flower mantis?

In captivity, the Devil's Flower mantis generally lives 4-7 months on average if cared for properly.

Are Devil's Flower mantises hard to care for?

No, the Devil's Flower mantis is not considered a very demanding exotic pet in terms of habitat and care needs. Providing proper temperatures, enclosure, foliage and a varied diet is quite simple for most experienced owners.

Can you handle a Devil's Flower mantis?

Yes, the Devil's Flower mantis can be handled gently. Avoid grabbing at their raptorial arms specifically and let them walk calmly from hand to hand. Some individuals tolerate human contact more than others.

What do Devil's Flower mantises eat?

Devil's Flower mantises are ambush predators that eat a variety of insects in captivity. Crickets, roaches, moths, grasshoppers, butterflies and flies make excellent feeders for these exotic mantis pets.

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