Peacock Praying Mantis (Pseudempusa pinnapavonis)

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Peacock Praying Mantis
Pseudempusa pinnapavonis
Peacock Praying Mantis (Pseudempusa pinnapavonis)
Name Peacock Praying Mantis
Name Lat. Pseudempusa pinnapavonis
Family Deroplatyid Mantises
Family lat. Deroplatyidae
Order Praying Mantids
Order lat. Mantodea
Origin Southeast Asia
Habitat Shrubland
Diet Flying insects
Humidity 50-70 %
Behavior Predatory
Keeping Individual
Care Level Moderate
Housing Semi-humid terrarium
Breeding Moderately difficult
Life Span 10-12 months
Protection No
Metric Units
Size 7-10 cm
Temperature Day 25-30 °C
Temperature Night 20-22 °C
Housing Size 30 x 30 x 50 cm
US Units
Size 2.8"-4"
Temperature Day 77-86 °F
Temperature Night 68-72 °F
Housing Size 10" x 10" x 20"

Distribution and habitat

The range of the diurnal peacock feathered praying mantis extends from Myanmar to Thailand and Malaysia. They inhabit open landscapes with trees, shrubs and bushes, where they live well camouflaged in the branches


For a female an insectarium of 30 x 30 x 50 cm (L x W x H), for a group of up to 5 males 40 x 40 x 60 cm, can be recommended as a guideline. An insectarium with a cover made of gauze or a fine metal grid is best suited, which should be placed in a quiet, place without sunlight.

You will need an insectarium not too densely structured with different climbing branches (hiding places, privacy screens) and pieces of bark with a cork back wall, as well as a small, shallow drinking vessel with water gel or a cotton trough. Artificial or live plants (e.g. Ficus pumila, Scindapsus aureus) can be used for decoration. The substrate of coconut fiber, vermiculite or sand-loam-peat mixture should always be kept slightly moist. Daily, preferably in the evening, the insectarium should be finely sprayed with water inside (humidity), but a rain or mist system is better. Waterlogging should be avoided at all costs.

Temp. day: 25-30 °C Temp. night: 20-22 °C Humidity: 50-70

The lighting duration should be 12 hrs. Light sources that also produce the necessary heat are ideal.


They are predatory and seize even larger prey, preferably flying insects, at lightning speed with their long tentacles. The food supply should consist of crickets, house crickets, flies (Drosophila, house flies) and grasshoppers, small butterflies, but also moths, etc. It is important to regularly add minerals and vitamins (e.g. by dusting the feeders). The quality of the feeders can be enhanced by feeding overripe fruit and honey water. A few days before, during and after molting, they refuse to eat. During molting, no predatory feeders (e.g. crickets) should remain in the insectarium, as during this time the animals are unprotected and may become prey themselves

A varied diet promotes health and prevents deficiency symptoms.

Reproduction and breeding

Adult females are larger than males. Males have a black spot under the tentacles, females have a red one.

After mating, the female lays the first egg package (ootheca) after about 20 days. At intervals of about one month, 2 more oothecae may follow. Usually about 100 nymphs hatch. They should be fed immediately with small fruit flies or microhermits, so that they do not eat each other (cannibalism).

After imaginal molting, females are ready to mate after about 4 weeks, males after about 2 weeks. After that, females live for more than 12 months, males for about 10 months.


Prior to mating, a large food animal should be offered to the female to reduce the risk of her eating the male. It is recommended to keep females singly.

They have very good camouflage due to their body shape and coloration, and their often prolonged immobility, and are very similar to a branch (branch mimesis). When threatened, they show the brightly colored inside of their wings.

For molting, they often hang upside down in the branches or on the lattice cover and slide out of their old shell. Therefore, they need at least one body length of free space below them.

Before purchasing, an insectarium should be prepared that meets the species-specific needs. Good ventilation without drafts is necessary, as well as equipment for measuring temperature and humidity. The lighting must correspond to the day-night rhythm appropriate for the species and must be installed in such a way that the animals cannot injure themselves. The insectarium should be locked in such a way that neither unauthorized persons can open it nor the animals can escape. Special attention must be paid to thorough hygiene and contamination must be removed regularly.

Further literature can be found in your pet store.


Text: petdata; Image: Franz Lowak

Source: ENGELMAN & LANGE (2011): Zootierhaltung - Tiere in menschlicher Obhut: Wirbellose, Verlag Harri Deutsch; HENKEL & SCHMIDT (2010): Taschenatlas Wirbellose für das Terrarium, Verlag Ulmer