Other common names: Giant African Mantis; Ghana Mantis; Afrikanische Gottesanbeterin
Scientific name: Sphodromantis lineola
The African Lined Mantis is a member of the Mantidae family which is native to sub-Saharan Africa. Sphodromantis lineola live in trees and bushes and use their bodies as camouflage to hide as they wait to prey on insects.
The African Lined Mantis is one of the most commonly kept pet Mantids. They are aggressive predators, and are easy to feed. However, like all Mantids, Sphodromantis lineola are cannibalistic, and only one individual should be kept in an enclosure.
Appearance / health:
This is not a very large, or colorful mantis. Their color is usually a dark brown color or a bright green color. Average size for this mantis is usually between 3-4 inches. Females are always larger than the males. Sphodromantis lineola can be distinguished from Sphodromantis baccettii by the lack of blue-black spots on its forearms.
Behavior / temperament:
African Mantids are usually docile and easy going. They are only aggressive while feeding; they usually don‘t let the food hit the ground before catching it. Handling is not recommended as they can fall and get injured. These are very active mantids and make wonderful additions to anyone’s collection; beginner or expert alike.
Ideal enclosures would be fully ventilated and three times the size of the mantis itself. Usually a pre-made or handmade 10 gallon fully ventilated enclosure works fine. Younger specimens may be kept in similar enclosures, just smaller.
Temperatures should be kept around 70-85F with humidity levels around 60-70%. Substrate is not important but may be potting soil, coco fiber, or any soil like substrate. Tank décor is the most important and should be a variety of twigs, branches, vines, and fake (or live) plants. They also need a fully horizontal branch with room underneath it so they can hang upside down during molting.
Adults should be offered variety especially before breeding time. Offer crickets, flies, moths, and other insects. Babies should be offered fruit flies, pin head crickets, and other small insects. If more than one are being housed together, always make sure food is abundant to prevent cannibalism.
Two weeks following their last molt, these mantids are ready to breed. Make sure both male and female mantids are well fed, then introduce the male into the females enclosure. If the female is receptive, she will allow the male to jump on her back and begin copulation. Copulation can last from one hour up to one full day. Once the male is finished he will run for dear life so the female will not eat him. Once the female lays her egg case, keep it just the same as the adults enclosure temperature and humidity wise. After 4-6 weeks later, 100s of nymphs will begin to hatch. Care for the babies, just as this care sheet suggests.
common exotic pet, large mantis species
violet eyes, active hunting behaviour, African wild version
Wild African Lined Mantises
This is a large mantis species naturally found in bushes throughout sub-Saharan Africa, but particularly prevalent in West Africa. Because of it's size and active hunting behaviour this is quite a common exotic pet. However, because they are aggressive hunters they must be kept singly (they are cannibalistic) and they need large terraria which must be kept at least at 25ºC and not below 17ºC at night. They do not require high humidity (about 55% is good) but you should spray with water twice a week to ensure that there are enough droplets for the insect to drink.
I first encountered these in Nigeria where they were common in the bushes surrounding the villages. Various superstitions surrounded them and some people would avoid them completely whilst others would bring them into their homes for controlling insects.
Typically they are green in colour but brown and beige are not unknown. The brown variants can have striking violet eyes. The females can grow up to 8cm long and have wings that are shorter than the bodies. The males are smaller (up to 6cm long and have wings longer than the body). Males and females also have different numbers of abdominal segments. Because they are large insects they need quite a bit of space and the minimum size of cage needs to be least 3 times the length of the animal in height, and at least 2x the length of the animal in width.
If you want to breed (and this information is based on the African wild version) then, some 3 weeks after the final moult, when the female becomes and adult, a male can be introduced. During this time, watch the pair very carefully. Ensure that the female has been very well fed beforehand (this will help control her aggression) then introduce the male some distance from the female. Ensure that the female is facing away from the male and give here a prey food item. Now introduce the male some distance away, but facing the female.
Walk away and do not disturb, but watch carefully. If the female looks to be behaving aggressively and particularly if she strikes out at the male, remove the male and try the next day. If all goes well the male will mount the female. It can take several hours for mating to occur. As long as the male remains on top of the female do not interfere. But, as soon as the male dismounts remove from the cage. This way you can keep the male alive..
From DLlE Sep 2 2012 9:54AM