The Giant Devil's Flower mantis (Idolomantis diabolica) might be THE most sought-after mantis species in the hobby! They are extremely rare, all but disappearing from the hobby for years at a time sometimes. This is because they can be a challenging species to rear to adulthood, let alone breed successfully. Needless to say, this mantis species requires advanced mantis-keeping experience.
The striking beauty of an adult Devil's Flower mantis cannot be matched by any other mantis species! They are known for their dramatic deimatic display, where they lift their arms straight up in the air and reveal deep red, white, black and blue markings on their underarms. The nymphs spend most of their lives as a fairly plain beige/tan/white color and then develop all their beautiful, bright, and striking colors and markings after their final molt to adulthood. You WILL be in awe of the exquisiteness and size of your adult Devil's Flower mantis, no matter what gender it turns out to be! On the outside, an adult Devil's Flower mantis has predominantly greenish-blue and white markings, but the edges of their wings, and the underside of their legs, body, and arms can have pink, blue, and even purple accents. In addition to their vivid colors, they also have a HUGE shield on the back of the thorax, along with many other smaller protrusions all over their bodies, to assist in their dead leaf mimicry.
Native to Tanzania and other parts of Africa, raising them and providing the right amount of heat and humidity for their needs can be a challenge. The ideal temperature for them is 95°F, but they can be safely kept between 85°F and 104°F, and should have at least 40% to 50% relative humidity (RH) at all times. Because they are Empusids and cannot climb smooth surfaces, they also MUST BE kept in either a mesh or screen cage, with plenty of sticks on which to climb. Because of their weight, and difficulty in completing their final few molts, we recommend adding additional gripping material, such as burlap, to the sides and top of the enclosure to make sure they always have some appropriate material to grip onto with the hooks on their feet when it is time to molt. Lastly, they must be fed fruit flies through L2 and MUST have flying prey throughout the rest of their instars, as they will not chase after most crawling prey.