Spiny Flower Mantis (Pseudocreobotra wahlbergii)

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Spiny Flower Mantis
Pseudocreobotra wahlbergii
Spiny Flower Mantis (Pseudocreobotra wahlbergii)
Name Spiny Flower Mantis
Name Lat. Pseudocreobotra wahlbergii
Family Flower Mantids
Family lat. Hymenopodidae
Order Praying Mantids
Order lat. Mantodea
Origin Eastern Africa
Habitat Shrub savanna
Diet Flying insects
Humidity 50-70 %
Behavior Predatory
Keeping Individual
Care Level Easy
Housing Semi humid terrarium
Breeding Moderately difficult
Life Span 4-10 months
Protection No
Metric Units
Size 4 cm
Temperature Day 25-30 °C
Temperature Night 20-22 °C
Housing Size 20 x 20 x 30 cm
US Units
Size 1.6"
Temperature Day 77-86 °F
Temperature Night 68-72 °F
Housing Size 10" x 10" x 10"

Distribution and habitat

The diurnal African Flowering Mantis is distributed in large parts of sub-Saharan Africa from Ethiopia, Kenya and Mozambique to Zambia and Angola. There it lives mainly in more humid areas on the flowers of shrubs and bushes.


For a female an insectarium of 20 x 20 x 30 cm (L x W x H), for a group of up to 5 males 30 x 30 x 50 cm, can be recommended as a guideline, which should be placed in a quiet place without sunlight. A cover of gauze or fine metal mesh is recommended. You will need an insectarium structured with thin, strongly branched climbing branches (hiding places, privacy screens), dense planting and flowers (also artificial), 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) are suitable for decoration. The substrate of coconut fibers, vermiculite or sand-clay-peat mixture (terrarium humus) should always be kept slightly moist. Daily, preferably in the evening, the inside of the terrarium should be finely sprayed with water (humidity), better is a rain or mist system. 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 the prey, preferably flying insects, with lightning speed from an angled lying-in-wait position with their tentacles. The food supply should consist of crickets, house crickets, flies (Drosophila) and grasshoppers as well as small arachnids. 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

The females are slightly larger and more massive than the males. The males have 6 appendages of equal length on the abdomen, the females only 5.

After mating, which lasts up to 6 hours or longer, the female lays the first egg package (ootheca) after about a week, 5-8 more may follow. At a temperature of about 30 °C and a humidity of 60-70 % between 40 and 80 nymphs hatch after about 6 weeks. The young are small, black and resemble ants (mimicry). They should be fed immediately with small fruit flies or microheims so that they do not eat each other (cannibalism).

It takes 10-14 weeks for the animals to reach sexual maturity. After that the males live for about 4 months, the females up to 10 months.


Before mating, the female should be offered a large food animal to reduce the risk of her eating the male. It is recommended to keep females singly, males can be kept in a group (approx. 5 animals)

They have very good camouflage due to their body shape and coloration and their often prolonged immobility. When threatened, they raise their wings to the side and show their eyespots as a deterrent.

Before purchasing, an insectarium should be prepared to meet the species specific needs. Good ventilation without drafts is necessary, as well as equipment for measuring temperature and humidity. Lighting has to correspond to the species-specific day-night rhythm and should be placed 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: Serena Werle; Image: Franz Lowak

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