Scientific name: Deroplatys dessicata
The Giant Dead Leaf Mantis (D. desiccata) inhabits scrubland and forests in Borneo, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Sumatra.
Appearance / health:
D. desiccata takes its common name from its resemblance to dead, leafy vegetation including having a flattened, greatly extended thorax and "intricate leaf patterns" on its wings. This insect varies in color from mottled brown through "pale orangey brown" to a very dark brown that is almost black. As its common name indicates, D. desiccata is larger than other species of Dead Leaf Mantis. Females grow to 15 cm long. Displaying the sexual dimorphism typical of mantises, males grow only 6 cm long and are substantially smaller and lighter than females.
Behavior / temperament:
Nearly all species of Mantis are docile and calm. This one is no different. Even though they are non-aggressive, handling should be avoided as they are fragile and risk the chance of being hurt. Overall, the Malaysian Dead Leaf Mantis would make an unusual pet for any style of keeper.
For all mantis species, screen cages are recommended. This allows for full ventilation as well as being healthier for them. Adults should live in a large screen cage resembling a 5-10 gallon tank size. Baby and young mantises can live in smaller, but fully screened cages. Whatever they are being housed in should have more height than floor space as they spend nearly all their time in the branches.
Temperatures should be kept between 75-80F with humidity levels around 75%. No substrate is really needed but potting soil or peat may be added. A water dish is also not needed, since the cage will need to be misted (sprayed) with water regularly to keep the humidity up. Tank décor is important and should be a variety of sticks, branches, twigs, leaves, live or fake plants, vines, etc. They also need an area where they can fully hang upside down for molting purposes.
Adults should be offered crickets, moths, flies, and other pesticide free insects. Babies will need to be offered fruit flies, pin head crickets, and other small insects that they can over power.
A dead leaf that eats insects - awesome!
Deroplatys dessicata is the largest of the Malaysian Dead Leaf mantis. Although adult male and females look different, they are both good mimics of dead leaves. The female is about 3.5” long and bulky, whereas the male is thinner and rarely grows past 3” inches in length. The shields are quite distinctive, as shown in the photos. Most people start with an ootheca, which can contain up to 40 nymphs. The nymphs can be reared together until the third instar, starting on fruit flies and eating progressively larger insects as they grow. After the third instar they may start to eat each other so they should be housed in separate containers. Baby Turkestan roaches are good as food for medium nymphs. Larger nymphs and adults can eat most normal insect feeder foods, such as crickets, flies and mealworms. Cages should be tall enough to allow the mantis to hang down to moult. They should be kept at between 68°F and 90°F. Keep the humidity reasonably high. Even in Malaysia I sprayed them every day and often saw them drink droplets of water. Males will mature faster than females, so the males should be reared in a cooler room. Alternatively, you could link up with other dessicata breeders so you can swap adults if yours mature at different times. Breeding, as with all mantis, is the trickiest part of the life cycle. The females need to be adults for at least four weeks before being mated and very fat. Males can either be nervous and avoid the female or overly optimistic and walk right into her arms – or mandibles. I do not try pairing the mantis in a cage but use a potted plant outside the cage. I prefer a plant with tall branches and few leaves. It is wise to keep a net handy in case the male flies away. The well-fed female is placed half way up one branch and given a cricket to eat (via tweezers.) When she is settled and munching, I place the male a few inches away, with her facing the other way. Even if she looks hungrily at the male, her front legs are busy holding the cricket. Once she eats again, the male will jump on her back and mating will start. Or he’ll run off! Pairing may last half an hour to several hours. Without the confines of the cage, the male is free to escape when he has finished and is easy enough to find the next day. Late afternoon seems to be the best time for successful pairings. Between a few days to a week after mating, the female should produce the first of four or five oothecae. This will take from four to six weeks to hatch and should be sprayed regularly. Deroplatys dessicata is a reasonably robust, large species and females can live for up to a year. These factors make it a great mantis to rear and breed. .
From DavidHaggett Oct 10 2016 2:10PM