The Thistle mantis (Blepharopsis mendica) is a desert species native to North Africa and the Canary Islands. They prefer higher temperatures in the 90-100°F range during the day. The nymphs have beige and white stripes across their bodies, and spiky protrusions on their abdomens. When they molt into adulthood, they develop a beautiful green and white pattern on their wings, and a small shield, with small spikes around the edges of the shield. The rest of the body maintains the white and beige stripes the nymphs had, except sometimes the beige develops into more of a pale green color. In addition, they have a fairly striking deimatic display, showing off bright orange and blue colors on the inside of the forearms.
Because of their high temperature/low humidity requirements, we raise ours in mesh cubes for maximum ventilation, with a 60 watt incandescent bulb in a desk lamp to supply the required heat. If you do not supply them with additional heat, they will not thrive. Even if they do not die immediately, their growth rates and general survival rates are at risk. Lastly, they should be fed fruit flies through L3, and flying prey through later instars, as they will not chase after most crawling prey, and crickets are bad for their health. Because of these requirements, they are for intermediate or advance mantis keepers only, and are not a good choice for people just starting out in the hobby.
They do fairly well communally as nymphs when well-fed. As adults, it is essential that each female gets their own enclosure though, they will cannibalize each other, along with males that are left with them for too long! It is our experience that males can be kept in small groups communally as adults, but just remember, every mantis is an individual, and cannibalism is always a risk with all mantis species.