Phyllocrania paradoxa

Features: smaller, brown praying mantid, with gills on its legs, pectoral shield and peculiar outgrowth on its head.

Length: female - 5 cm, male 4.5 - cm.

Origin: eastern Africa, Madagascar

Raising: This species requires more humid environment, but it is necessary to ventilate the vivarium. The required raising temperature is around 25 C. There may be some problems with feeding, mainly juvenile praying mantids prefer flying insects whereas they very reluctantly eat insects creeping on the bottom. It may happen that a single mantid has a period when it less willingly accepts food and in later between moult periods it eats very well. As this species is relatively very small, it grows slowly, becomes adult later than other, larger species.

Breeding: as this species is not very aggressive, it does not happen often that the female eats the male after mating, but it is still safer to feed her well before. Mating lasts mostly a few hours and the female is able to produce its 1st ootheca a few hours after. It also depends on its age and in case it is young this process is considerably longer. Oothecas are of narrow and long shape and the female lays them at 14-day intervals. The young hatch at the temperature of around 25 C in 30 - 35 days in a quantity of 10 - 30 in most cases. They grow relatively slowly and reach adulthood after 6 - 7 months.

My opinion about this species: smaller praying mantids, however very interesting for their body shape; sometimes these praying mantids are quite selective and accept food reluctantly.