Orchid mantis natural history

The Orchid mantis (Hymenopus coronatus), is a stunning pink and white praying mantis characterised by large lobes on it's legs that resemble flower petals. It is one of several 'flower mantids' so named for their appearance and behavioural patterns.

The Orchid mantis is native to the rainforests of Southeast Asia, inhabiting areas rich in white and pink flowers where they mimic flower petals and hunt as ambush predators, preying primarily on pollenating insects.

This species exhibits sexual dimorphism, with males (~2.5cm/1") reaching only about half the size of females (up to 7cm/3"). Due to their smaller size, males of the species mature much faster and as such, are much shorter lived. Adult males also tend to have a more orange hue to their body, much smaller lobes on the legs, long wings and a brownish spot on the back, compared with a green spot on the female.

Orchid mantis housing

As with other praying mantis species, an Orchid mantis enclosure should be roughly 3 times the mantids length in height, and twice it's length in width to allow ample space for your mantis to hang upside down and moult safely. For an adult female Orchid mantis, we recommend an enclosure of around 20 x 20 x 30cm (8 x 8 x 12"), such as the Exo Terra Glass Terrarium 20x20x30cm.

Adult Orchid mantids are cannibalistic, and will prey on each other if kept in the same enclosure. Therefore, they should never be housed together, even in the early life stages where cannibalism is less likely.

Orchid mantis heating

The ideal temperature range for an Orchid mantis is between 25-35°C (77-95°F), with 28°C (82°F) being optimal. This can usually be achieved using a heat mat attached to the side or back of your mantis enclosure, however, in larger enclosures, a heat lamp or ceramic heater may be required. All heating equipment should be attached to a compatible thermostat, for heat mats or ceramic heaters this would be a simple on/off mat stat, or a pulse proportional thermostat, whereas for a heat lamp, a dimming thermostat would be required.

Your Orchid mantis will likely not require night time heating, unless your home is particularly cold. Ideally, the night time temperature should not drop below 18°C (64°F). If overnight heating is required to maintain this, a non-light emitting heat source such as a heat mat or ceramic heater should be used.

Orchid mantis lighting

Praying mantids do not require any specific lighting, however, you may wish to purchase a small LED light for better viewing, or to keep alive any live plants if you choose to create a bioactive setup.

Orchid mantis humidity

The ideal humidity levels for an Orchid mantis sit between 60-80%, but nymphs should be kept slightly drier, as they are very sensitive to humidity. Nymphs should be misted around once a week depending on how well ventilated the enclosure is, whereas an adult may need misting daily. It is important to use a hygrometer to monitor the humidity levels and mist as needed.

Using live plants in a bioactive mantis enclosure can also help to maintain the high humidity levels required for this species.

Orchid mantis substrate

Due to their higher humidity requirements, a moisture-retaining substrate such as coco soil should be used to help maintain high humidity levels. If you opt for a bioactive setup, you should instead use a soil mix more tailored towards planting, there are many commercial options available, alternatively you can create your own mix using soil components.

Orchid mantis decor

Orchid mantids are arboreal and will spend most of their time perching or hanging from any branches or decor pieces within your mantis enclosure. You should therefore provide them with a few branches and/or vines, and artificial or live plants to create coverage. It is important, however, not to clutter the enclosure, enough space should be left for your mantis to safely moult.

Orchid mantis diet

The Orchid mantis is an insectivore, preying primarily on pollenating, flying insects in the wild. Therefore, in captivity they should be fed on flying insects where possible too, such as fruit flies or blue bottle flies. They can also be fed on locusts, crickets and other small feeder insects to add variety to their diet.

Orchid mantis breeding

If you are looking to breed males and females of the same age, it is important to slow the male's development by keeping him at much lower temperatures of around 18-20°C (64-68°F) and feed him slightly less to avoid him passing away before the female reaches sexual maturity. In contrast, the female Orchid mantis should be kept at the higher end of the temperature range, with around 35°C (95°F) being ideal. The female should also be fed as much as she will eat daily in the lead up to mating.

Once your female has reached adulthood, you can begin increasing the temperature in the male mantis enclosure and increasing the feeding frequency to normal. Your Mantids will be ready to breed around 2-4 weeks after their final moult.

It is important to feed the female Orchid mantis well before introducing the male, his chances of survival are much higher if she is preoccupied with food. Mating can last anything from several hours to a few days, so you should leave the male on the female's back until he detaches himself, and remove him from her enclosure as quickly as possible, or he is likely to become her next meal.

Orchid mantis care sheet at a glance

Common names: Orchid mantis, Walking flower mantis

Scientific name: Hymenopus coronatus

Country: Southeast Asia

Captive-bred: Yes

Adult size: 2.5-7cm (1-3") sex dependent

Natural habitat: Tropical rainforests

Housing: 20 x 20 x 30cm (8 x 8 x 12")

Ideal temperature: 28°C (82°F)

Ideal humidity: 60-80%

Diet: Insectivorous

Average lifespan: 5-9 months

Personality: Skittish

Ease of handling: Not recommended

Cohabitable: No

Orchid mantis shopping list

  • 20 x 20 x 30cm (8 x 8 x 12") enclosure
  • Heat source
  • Thermostat
  • Lighting (if required)
  • Thermometer
  • Hygrometer
  • Substrate
  • Decor
  • Misting bottle