Idolomantis diabolica – Giant Devils Flower Praying Mantis

Idolomantis diabolica – Giant Devil’s Flower Mantis

General information

DistributionTanzania, Kenya, Somalia
HabitatGrassy areas, finely branched plants
SizeFemales 11cm Males 10cm
Life expectancyFemales up to 1.5 year Males up to 1 year
ColorsBlack when they are born, from L2 onwards they are brownish. A week after the last molt they will turn bright green/white/red.
DifficultyHigh (No beginner species!). This species is sensitive to stress. Also they need high temperatures and preferably only flying prey items.
Group keeping possibleYes, in all stadia when provided with enough space.

Keeping requirements

-Individual keeping: from 30x30x30cm.

-Smaller nymphs are best kept in smaller enclosures in order to make sure they can catch their food more easily.

-Group keeping for 2-3 adult animals in a 50x50x50 netcage

Terrarium setup

-Substrate: soil, sand, kitchen towel, coco peat, spagnum moss or a mixture.

-Climbing surfaces: Mesh! Very important for this species. They are poor at climbing surfaces such as plastic or too fine mesh. Even twigs can be a struggle for them sometimes. Mesh cages, or even butterfly cages are best used for this species.

-Ventilation: High, cage is best entirely from mesh.


Day: 28-25C (Heat lamp necessary)

Night: 18-22C


40/50%. When they are subadult some people will spray them with water multiple times a day to help with molting. You also hear stries of people who spray them very lightly only once a day in this stage without problems.

Food recommendation

L1/L2Big fruitflies (Drosophila hydei)
L3 till L5Greenbottle flies, Bluebottle flies.
L6+Bluebottle flies, moths,  small redrunners, crickets


In general: Praying mantises have segments on their abdomen(=belly). The amount of segments differs for males and females. This is a reliable method to use for sexing nymphs, the bigger they are the easier it is to see the difference.

Specifically for Idolomantis diabolica: Males of this species have thicker, antennae. Especially when they are adult, these antennae are clearly visible and look like a feather. Males also have an extra “spine” on the last segment of their abdomen, 6 in stead of 5.

An adult male Idolomantis diabolica. Notice the feather like antennae.


Adult stage:

Females will be adult in L9, Males in L8

Amount of molts can sometimes differ 1 when they are kept under extreme conditions. Both adult sexes will have wings, but especially the males are capable of flying short distances.

Sexual maturity:

Females are sexually mature 3-4 weeks after their final molt, males after around 2 weeks.

Oothecas & incubation

The oothecas of this species are enormous, around the size of a golfball. They are light brown and have a foam-like appearance. It takes around 5 to 8 weeks fort he oothecas to hatch. Oothecas should be sprayed lightly once a day at a daytemperature of 28-35C. From a big ootheca over 50 nymphs can be born. The nymphs are around 1 cm when they are born and entirely black.