Scientific name: Sphodromantis centralis
The Central African Mantis is a member
of the Mantidae family which is native to sub-Saharan Africa. Sphodromantis centralis live in trees and bushes and use their bodies as camouflage to hide as they wait to prey on insects.
The Central African Mantis is one of the most commonly kept pet Mantids. They are aggressive predators, and are easy to feed. However, like all Mantids, Sphodromantis centralis are cannibalistic, and only one individual should be kept in an enclosure.
Appearance / health:
This mantis can grow upwards of 4 inches. Their colors will range from a dark brown color to bright green. A cream color variety has also been noted. Adults are fully winged and males are always smaller than the females.
Behavior / temperament:
African Praying Mantids are usually docile and easy going. They may get aggressive while feeding. 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.
A fully screened enclosure works best for all mantids as they are fully ventilated. Baby mantids may live in a temporary jar with many air holes punched in the lid and sides. They may be housed together, but enclosure space will need to grow according to how many are being housed. However, it’s best to house separately as cannibalism is very common.
Temperatures should stay around 75-85F with humidity levels of 60-70%. Humidity is important especially around molting time. Substrate is best as potting soil or a mix of peat and potting soil; 1-2 inches deep. Tank décor is highly important and should be items such as vines, twigs, branches, and many other climb-able items. They also need a place for molting and this can be a branch laid horizontally at the top of the tank. They will hang upside down to molt, so make sure there is room underneath the branch. Misting the tank during molt time is beneficial. If not molting, mist the tank 1-2 times a week to keep the range between 60-70%.
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.
Once the male and female have had their last molt, they are ready to breed. About 2 weeks from the last molt, introduce the male into the females enclosure. If she is receptive, she will allow the male to jump on her back and get positioned for breeding. If she allows this, copulation will begin and can last anywhere from a few minutes to a day. Once mating is finished, make sure to remove the male as female African Mantids are very aggressive and will not hesitate to hunt them down for food. Whether she was fertile or not, 3-4 weeks later she will lay her egg case. Keep this at the same temps and humidity as the adults and in about 4-6 weeks later, nymphs will hatch out. Care for these just as the adults.
wonderful species, brilliant bright green, Elegant hunter, high educational value
mature pet owner, deadly accuracy, fruit flies, relatively lowmaintenance
My nephews Praying Mantis science fair project
A few days after my nephew started the fourth grade he excitedly told me that at the end of the year there was a school science fair, and that they could enter anything they liked. As we sat discussing what to do, I remembered reading somewhere about buying praying mantis egg sacks on line. He was absolutely thrilled (his mom, not so much).
We ordered our egg sack, and had it a week or so later. It basically looked like a walnut. We put it inside of a terrarium and waited, and waited, and waited. A few weeks later I had pretty much given up hope when my nephew called me up all excited. The egg sack had finally hatched. I went over after work and couldn't believe it, there had to easily be a hundred, very small, praying mantis in the terrarium. They were so cute to look at. Not exactly sure what to do with all of them I quickly got on line and found out that if not released, these little guys would soon turn on each other for food. We took the terrarium out to him moms garden and released the whole lot, retrieving one of them for the science fair project.
The remaining mantis was very easy to take care of. Initially, while it was still very small, we would hunt for leaves in the yard covered in aphids, and just stick that right into the terrarium. To watch that little mantis stalk and eat the aphids was quite a sight to see. Later, as the mantis grew, my nephew would feed it crickets from the pet store.
I'm proud to say my nephew did very well on his science project, and his mother is more than pleased to announce that she hasn't seen a single aphid in her garden since we introduced a hundred or so mantis to it. I highly suggest this little science experiment for the kids..
From CutRateTraveler Feb 19 2014 4:11PM
Central African Mantis
The Central African Praying Mantis is a great choice as your first exotic pet and very similar to the South African Praying Mantis. They are a hardy species and do very well in captivity. They are best kept in outdoor mesh cages measuring 60cm x 40cm x 40cm. They are amazing to keep and easy to feed, keep and breed. They are very active and will appreciate the extra space outdoors. This species can live for quite a long time in captivity. This is a ferocious predator and will eat any insect or invertebrate but inside the cage with it. They reach adulthood at the age of 5-6 months. They are arboreal animals and their cages need to be fitted with as many branches and plants as possible. Youngsters do very well on a diet of fruit flies and adults on a diet of crickets. A Great species of insect to keep and this is the reason why this species is so popular in captivity..
From RobWedderburn Jan 30 2016 3:16AM