The Blepharopsis Mendica is becoming ever more popular in captivity, and with its beautiful looks, and ferocious nature, it is understandable. Why this species is known as the Devils Flower Mantis is unknown…the true Devils Flower Mantis is the Idolomantis Diabolica.
This species originates from all over Asia and Africa, in countries such as Egypt, Algeria, Ethiopia, India, Israel, Libya, Morocco, Pakistan, Somalia, Sudan, Tunisia, Turkey, and Cyprus. Females rarely exceed lengths of 6cm, males a few millimetres shorter. The wings cover the whole abdomen in both sexes. Sex determination is the usual, 8 segments for the male, and 6 or 7 for the female. Another sexual dimorphism is the difference on appearance of the antennae. The males have more feathery, split antennae, and the females long, thin and straight.
As adult, if kept humid, the Blepharopsis will moult into a beautiful lime green specimen, with white dotted wings. They can also take a green form as nymphs; however, it is more common that before adult, they are a light brown, or beige colour.
The abdomen is covered in small, rubbery spines. This helps to camouflage the body within dry bushes or reeds. Nymphs spend most of their lives with their abdomens curled up to their body. It is only as adult that they uncurl, and die to the formation of wings, are then unable to re curl. When gently blown, they will slowly rock from side to side. This is typical behaviour or most cryptic species. This swaying is mimicking a dried leaf or branch swaying in the wind. In a swaying bush, this behaviour could make the mantis go completely un noticed.
The Blepharopsis Mendica is an Empusid. There are a few different members of the Empusid family, including Idolomantis Diabolica and Empusa Sp. These can all be housed communally in theory, however, the if not given a constant food source, then this rule is broken.
Humidity and Temperature
In their natural habitat, the Blepharopsis live in dry, arid conditions; It is best to stimulate this as best as possible in captivity. They are tolerant to moderate temperature and humidity fluctuations, however, it is best to keep these at a steady constant. Temperatures ranging from around 24 to 30c are best to keep them at.
When young, it is recommended to spray them once a week, as shedding of skins will be a fairly common occurrence, and when moist, the skins will be softer, and easier for the mantid to remove. However, as the specimen grows, it is best to avoid spraying regularly. Only when there are signs of the mantis shedding, should they be moistened. Constant spraying, or over humidifying of this species can lead to fungal or bacterial infections. Whole cultures can be lost, if the humidity is too high
Housing and Enclosure
As with most empusids, the Blepharopsis is not very active. They do not require large enclosures. The only reason that they would need a large space is for shedding purposes. The height of the enclosure must be at least 3 times the length of the mantis.
Dried branches and leaves can also be provided, to add to the mantis disguise. Not only will this look attractive, but will also make the enclosure more natural for the mantis.
This species can eat a lot! So it should be fed regularly, if not daily. A staple diet of live food items such as crickets, locusts, meal worms, Mario worms, wax worms, earth worms and any other live food that is readily available, will grown a healthy specimen. If fed a lot, the Blepharopsis can be housed communally. However, if you are in possession of only a few, then it is not worth the risk. There is always a possibility of cannibalism, no matter what species, and no matter how much food is provided.
The Blepharopsis is another very easy species to keep. If kept at high temperatures, and low humidity, one will encounter few problems rearing to adult. With a big appetite, feeding is no problem; the only problem may come when food sources are out! A great species for the beginner.