Parasphendale affinis

Features: adult males and females distinctively differ in size: the female is up to 6 cm long, the male - max.4 cm; colour: brown and green; the female has short wings reaching up to one third of the abdomen length, on which there is white and violet pattern - see photo.
Origin: Kenya

Raising: This praying mantid tolerates lower humidity and higher temperature with only occasional spraying. The moulting is easy and requires little space. It ventures on a larger pray, accepts bigger fruit flies Hydea after the 1st moult. Minimal temperature - 20 C, optimal 25 C during the day. Dense and thin branches are not suitable for adult females as they could get stuck within. These praying mantids do not move well on glass or other sleek surfaces so it is better to layer the vivarium side walls or ceiling with some rough netting.

Breeding: The males mostly become adult one moult earlier than the females and in addition they live very short, therefore it is necessary to apply lower temperature and less frequent feeding to the males while raising. The males can be easily recognized by their apparently thinner abdomen. For mating the female must be adult for 2 weeks or more and the male adult for 1 week. The female must have been well fed for quite a long time. For the male it is necessary to have a fly. We can "entertain" the female by offering attractive food and at the same time carefully place the male closely to the back of the female so he can spot her. The "brave" male can jump on the female and after a classic turning he can tightly grasp her. However sometimes it happens that the male only sits on the female but the mating is not occurring. In such a case it is recommended to offer the female some food and allow the male fly away safely. Majority of males die after one month, the oldest male lived 65 days in raising conditions. After the successful mating the female produces a relatively large brown ootheca and over 100 black nymphs hatch after about 30 days (at the temperature 20 C maintained for 60 days). After the 2nd moult they colour brown and black. These praying mantids grow relatively slowly, become adult after about half a year (6 - 7 moults), the adult female lives 2 - 7 months, during that time in most cases produces 3 oothecas.

My opinion about this species: very interesting species for its body shape, colour and low-maintenance raising; breeding may be a little complicated.

Comment: A similar species, Parasphendale agrionina, is also raised. It comes from Tanzania, is a bit larger, oothecas are of greenish tinge.

Text and photo - Tomáš Vojkůvka