Other common names: Indian Rose Mantis
Scientific name: Gongylus gongylodes
The Wandering Violin Mantis (Gongylus gongylodes) is characterized by extremely slender limbs with large appendages. It is not a particularly aggressive species and often kept as a pet by hobbyists. It feeds primarily on flying insects. Its native range is in southern India and Sri Lanka.
Appearance / health:
(Gongylus gongylodes) can reach sizes of up to 11 cm. The males of the species are capable of flight.
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.
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.
Six-legged alien : eats flies!
This is one of my favourite mantis. The species has a broad range, being found in India, Sri Lanka, Myanmar and Thailand, showing it can tolerate a wider range of environments than often suggested. It needs higher temperatures than many species but I found it easy to keep. I bred it in both South Africa and the UK, which have very different climates. It thrived in both locations. The stock I reared in the UK came from a friend in Germany, who kindly sent me two oothecae. These were rectangular and a pale creamy colour, with several long protuberances along the sides. The Wandering Violin Mantis is a reasonably large species. A males can grow to about 3" long and the female’s body may be 4". The long neck, with its alien-like head, make it look bizarre. The colouring can be variable between light and dark brown. Males are thinner than females and have feathery antennae. Although the mantis prefer flying insects, mine were mainly fed crickets in their early instars. Adults, especially females, were fed on house flies and silkmoths when possible but otherwise they also ate crickets. They are patient predators and sit quietly waiting for prey. The speed with which they grab an insect from air is remarkable. In the UK, I kept them at a fairly constant 80°F in a heated room but in South Africa they lived in net cages at room temperature. This fluctuated between 85°F during the day down to 65°F at night. I sprayed them every other day, but they were in well-ventilated cages so the air was always fresh and never humid. This is a species that can be kept together without the risk of cannibalism that occurs in most species after the 2nd or 3rd instar - if they are not crowded and there is ample food. Occasionally, I found that males would get eaten by females even if there was other food available but this was more of an exception rather than a rule. Like any insect with long legs and delicate bodies, they should be kept in a cage large and tall enough to allow for them to moult without disturbance. Mating is straight forward, as long as the female has ample food so she doesn’t eat the male. Pairing may occur as early as three weeks after the final moult. During her adult life the female can lay up to ten oothecae, each of which many contain between 10 and 30 eggs. The eggs hatch after about four weeks. I have read that this species need temperatures as high as 95°F to thrive because it comes from Indian desert regions. In fact, its geographic range is much wider than that and it lives in regions with lower temperatures and wetter conditions. I had no trouble breeding them at 80°F in the UK but some cultures may need the high temperatures. While this is not a beginner’s species, it ranks among my favourites for its weird looks and relatively simple requirements. .
From DavidHaggett Sep 4 2016 8:44AM