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Cryptic Mantis (Sybilla Pretiosa)

The Sybilla Pretiosa, one of the most amazing mantids in captivity, with its strange looks and strange behaviour. A must for the advanced hobbyist.

Looks

The Sybilla Pretiosa, one of the most cryptic looks mantis species in captivity. Similar to the Gongylus Gongyloides, the Sybilla has many leafy projections on its legs and abdomen, and a camouflaged, twisted body. Females have a bright green wing case, which overlaps the end of the abdomen. There is a small crest behind the head, in a diamond like shape, creating even more of a disguise. Like a Phylocrania Paradoxa, the Sybilla possess a large projection on the top of the head. They are only usually found in brown colours on the body, as green colours on the wings. Few variations have been seen. Females are around 5-6 cm long, with the males around 1cm shorter in length. Sex determination is the usual, 8 segments for the male, and 6 or 7 for the female. Antennae are very similar, so this may be an inaccurate way of sex determination. However, the male does possess slightly longer antennae, but this length difference will only be visible from L5 upwards.

Humidity and Temperature

Not such a good species for the beginner, the Sybilla needs to be kept in a warmed enclosure. Temperatures from around 25-20c are required, as this is one of the more tropical species in captivity. Humidity as nymphs is essential, to overcome shedding problems. As hatchling, spraying is needed every day. This will not only soften skins, but will provide a source of water to drink. As the nymphs develop, spraying can become gradually more infrequent. As adult, spraying only once or twice a week will be needed.

Housing and Enclosure

Large enclosures are not needed as such, as the Sybilla is a fairly immobile species. With lengths rarely exceeding 6cm, a large enclosure can really prove a waste of space. Enough room will be needed to allow the mantis to successfully shed its skin. Furniture will be needed for the enclosure, as this is a fairly timid species, that does like to hide. Not only do branches, twigs and leaves provide a hiding space, but also something to grip on to.

Feeding is not usually a problem. Starting from hatchling, the Sybilla will readily take to food. Nymphs will consume fruit flies the day of hatching, however, this is not recommended. As with most species, the nymphs should be left 2-3 days after hatching, until introducing food. In these first days, daily spraying is essential. When the nymphs grow, food sizes will need to be increased. Flying prey is most appreciated. Food types such as flies, bees, wasps and wasps are all good to feed, and will provide the mantis wit a varied nutritional diet.

A well fed female will produce ootheca every 2 weeks. These ootheca may vary in size, however they will rarely exceed hatches of more than 50 nymphs. Nymphs will live communally until L4/5, where cannibalism will start to take place. Nymphs will need to be separated into their own, furnished enclosures.

Summary

The Sybilla Pretiosa is one of the strangest looking species in captivity, and along with this comes fascination. Bizarre behaviour and great camouflage makes it a unique species for the collection, and would be a reward to successfully breed.

Cryptic Mantis (Sybilla Pretiosa) for sale

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