The Creobroter, the mantis we all think of when we say “Flower Mantis” This species has to be given credit for it fantastic colouring, and its all famous threat defence, showing of the true beauty, of what is underneath that wing case.
The name really does capture the description of what this mantis looks like at a quick glimpse. The large, multicoloured spiral centred in their vibrant green wing case helps the magnificent camouflage. The green and white abdominal projections from beneath the wings helps to build up the shape and colour of this disguise.
This is one of the many miniature species, large females rarely exceeding 5cm in length. As with all species, the male is very slightly shorter, with just millimetres in it. In a threat display, adults will raise their wings, in a fan like fashion, revealing a wondrous pink array of folds, surrounded by black under wings. This would be startling for any small predator, and with its colours can come a nasty pinch.
As nymphs, the flower disguise is a lot more intense than adult. The bright colours on the wings of an adult prove to be more of an eye catcher, than a camouflage. Nymphs are usually a beige in colour, with a slightly pink tinge to the overall colour, and wing buds. Hanging upside down on plants and flowers creates an amazing disguise, naturally fooling the flying insect passers by.
There are many different sub species of Creobroter. These include the Elongata, Gemmatus, Meleagris and Picitpennis. The main difference in these species is the colour. The change in colour is not dramatic, only very slight. For instance, the Gemmatus possess a green and white abdoman, however, the Elongata, green is not visible in such a way. Transparency of the antennae is another dimorphism of the species, however, little is known about this.
Humidity and Temperature
Creobroter are one of the easiest species of mantis to care for. They are no abnormal requirements for this species. A steady 25c will suffice for this species, which is often obtained by keeping at room temperature. Any higher than 27c, is not recommended. This can often cause dehydration, and then lead to death. Humidity is not a great requirement either. A spraying once or twice a week is recommended as an extra fluid source; however, most of the fluid needed will be provided by the live food.
Shedding has never proved much of a problem with this species. Spraying can be given to easy the skin, making shedding an much easier process. However, the structure of the mantis is pretty simple, unlike most of the cryptic species.
Housing and Enclosure
Being a miniature species, the Creobroter does not need a large enclosure. These are not very active mantids, often spending long periods of time in the same position. However, when provided with a little extra space, this species will hunt. It is know for its ferocity, and will not wonder away from a passing cricket.
Feeding is very simple. Just provide the mantis with any live food, items such as crickets, locusts, meal worms, wax worms, Mario worms, earth worms, flies, moth, butterflies will help to build up its staple diet. Feeding a variety of different foods is highly recommended, providing them with the different nutrients they need. In the long run, this will make a healthier female, and also build on the production of the egg production, egg fertility and nymph survival.
The enclosure should be furnished with many different branches, twigs, and silk plants. You may find the Creobroter likes to wonder around the enclosure occasionally, often in search of food. Providing plenty of foliage will create a more natural habitat for the mantis. Providing different coloured foliage also contributes to the colour change of the mantis. If the enclosure is full of pink flower, then after a few weeks, usually after the shedding of skin, the mantis will turn a very subtle pink hue. Many different mantids do this, and it is a form of camouflage to suit the environment they are living in.
The Creobroter does not need a substrate, however, many hobbyists use a substrate to add to the look of the enclosure. The most effective substrate is soil or peat. Also, a layer of compressed coconut fibre is a great substrate, as this is very clean, and you can be assured no form of pesticide or any other harmful chemicals will be present.
It has to be said, the Creobroter Sp. are one of the most fantastic species available in captivity. Their beauty outstands many, and their behaviour can be most entertaining. The mere fact that this species requires so little for its survival is was one of the most beneficial factors of keeping this species. It is readily available in captivity from most breeders and suppliers. If you don’t have a Creobroter, or have never kept any, then it is well worth obtaining some, just give that extra bit of sparkle to the collection!