Creobroter pictipennis

Features: brown and yellow praying mantid with green wings with an eye-shaped spot on each. - see photo; eyes standing out distinctively; thank to its size (about 4 cm as an adult) it attempts to tackle a prey of half of its size, although it prefers flies (skillfully catches fruit flies also as an adult)

Origin: Sri Lanka

Raising: These praying mantids accept less humid environment except for the period of moulting. Minimal temperature - 22C. Due to the size features they can be raised in small terraria or plastic boxes with a net placed under the ceiling for trouble-free moulting. Until the 4th moult and longer it is possible to keep all young mantids together providing enough food fruit flies, green flies, aphids) and place for hiding, or segments can be made of e.g. synthetic fibre nets. For raising of adult mantids middle-sized boxes with a few branches of a diameter of 0.5 cm or more are recommended. Attention! Do not leave uneaten food like crickets in a vivarium for the night. They can attack sleeping mantids.

Breeding: males become adult one moult earlier than females and live approximately one month longer, that is why it is recommended to "slow" males down by feeding less often. Males can be safely recognized by their stronger, brushy antennae even after the 3rd moult. For breeding the female should be adult for 2 weeks or more, and the male best if adult for 1 week. It is recommended to allow the male fly before mating. The female must be well fed. We need to place the male about 20 cm from the female. I use a large plant freely located in a room, where there is enough escape space. Sometimes the male demonstrates an interesting "dance" while approaching the female, it spreads its wings widely or another time it waits for a suitable moment. If the male successfully manages to jump on the female, copulation lasts a few hours, afterwards we can offer the female some food and this way enable the male to leave safely. For breeding of this species it is recommended to choose a couple from more congeners through a step-by-step selection in order to eliminate females which could be considered as male liquidators and also males which are not brave enough to copulate. Most of males die after 4 - 8 weeks. Females live up to 6 months after the last moult and produce oothecas of a caterpillar shape at intervals of 2 - 3 weeks. Most nymphs, about 30, hatch from first oothecas, whereas other oothecas deliver 3 - 10 nymphs fewer. The nymph development lasts approximately 35 days at the temperature of around 22 C. Nymphs are about 8 mm big and resemble ants (red and brown, later brown and yellow), require small size food (fruit flies Drosophila or aphids). These praying mantids grow slowly, become adult after about half a year (6 - 7 moults).

My opinion about this species: very interesting species by the shape of their body and hunting methods; low-maintenance raising.

Text and photo by Tomáš Vokjůvka