Giant Shield Mantis Caresheet
The Giant Shield Mantis is part of the Rhombodera genus of mantis which contains many different species below it. All specimens in this genus are large, native throughout Asia, and are known to possess some kind of shield or extended leaf-shaped thorax. They also all have near identical care requirements; therefore, this caresheet will apply to any mantis under the genus "Rhobodera."
The Giant Shield mantis should be kept in an enclosure that is at least 3 times as tall as the mantis is long, and at least 2 times as wide as the mantis is long. The enclosure must also have adequate ventilation, and some kind of mesh material on the ceiling of the enclosure which will allow the mantis to hang upside down during molting, as well as an empty space at the top which is at least 2 times the size of the mantis. They can be kept in glass or mesh cages, but enclosures with glass or clear plastic sides and a mesh or screen top are ideal, due to the humidity requirements of this species.
Shield mantises can be kept successfully in a living vivarium with live plants and microfauna (e.g., springtails and isopods) who will act as a sort of "clean up crew" by breaking down the mantis's waste. They can also be kept in a temporary enclosure such as a mesh cage or screen cage, with silk plants (such as an Ivy Branch, Leafy Branch, Orchid Flower, or White Flower) and an easily disposable substrate such as sphagnum moss, or even just a paper towel that you can change once a week.
Temperature & Humidity
Giant Shield mantises are native to then more humid areas of Asia, such as Thailand. Because of this, they will do best with temperatures between 70°F and 85°F, and humidity should be kept between 60% and 80% relative humidity (RH).
Depending on the amount of ventilation, the enclosure should be given a light misting at least once a day. Shield mantises kept in mesh or screen cages should have their enclosures misted twice a day to maintain proper humidity. Not only that, but misting the enclosure also allows the mantis to drink. Most mantises do not like getting sprayed directly, so it is best to try and spray around the mantis, but if you get them a little wet by accident, it is usually no big deal. Use spring water, distilled water, or water filtered by reverse osmosis (RO), but do not use plain tap water.
Giant Shield Mantises have voracious appetites, and are not picky about what they eat. As adults, these mantises are good candidates for larger prey items, such as cockroaches.
- L1 to L3 nymphs: Should be fed D. melanogaster or D. hydei fruit flies.
- L4 to L5 nymphs: Should be fed house flies, blue bottle flies, and small cockroaches.
- L6 nymph to adult: Should be fed blue bottle flies, and large cockroaches.
Before choosing to feed any of your mantises crickets, please read Is it Safe to Feed Crickets to Your Praying Mantis?
These mantises are so voracious that they are willing to tackle prey as big as themselves! However, it is best to feed these mantises prey items that don’t exceed 1/3 their body length. You also must be careful not to overfeed them, as it can shorten their lifespan and have a serious impact on their overall health. If their abdomen seems very round, stop feeding them for a few days. Like you or me, just because they may want to eat something, doesn’t mean they should eat it. Finally, refrain from giving them poisonous insects such as wasps and bees.