Ameles Decolor and Ameles Heldreichi: Care Guide

Today, we delve into the realm of two closely related species within this genus: Ameles decolor and Ameles heldreichi. In the vast and captivating world of praying mantises, the genus Ameles stands out as a group of small, ground-inhabiting mantids that possess remarkable traits. These fascinating creatures are renowned for their exceptional jumping abilities and lightning-fast running skills, making them agile hunters in their natural habitats.

ameles decolor

Genus Overview

Ameles, the group of small ground-inhabiting mantids, captures our fascination with its unique set of characteristics. Let us delve into the intriguing world of these mantises and explore what sets them apart.

Jumping and Running Abilities: Ameles mantids possess remarkable agility, making them adept jumpers and fleet-footed runners. Their powerful hind legs enable them to propel themselves with impressive force, allowing them to make quick getaways or pounce on unsuspecting prey. Their nimbleness on the ground grants them a competitive edge in capturing food and evading potential threats.

Differences in Wing Size and Color Variations: One of the distinguishing features between male and female Ameles mantids lies in their wings. Females typically have reduced wings, which cover only about a quarter of their abdomen, rendering them unable to fly. In contrast, males boast longer wings that extend beyond their abdomen, enabling them to take to the skies in search of mates. Additionally, the color variations within this genus are striking, with mantids exhibiting shades of grey, brown, or green, seamlessly blending into their dry meadow and soil habitats.

Preferred Habitats and Behaviors: Ameles mantids find solace in dry meadows and grounds with sparse vegetation, particularly up to 30cm above the ground, where they may reside in small bushes. They thrive in sunny environments, basking in the warmth of the day. However, these mantids exhibit a level of territorial aggressiveness, making it essential to keep them separated, as they are not suited for communal living.

Aggressiveness towards Other Insects and Mantises: With their aggressive nature, Ameles mantids do not tolerate cohabitation with their own kind or other insects. They prefer solitary living and tend to be fiercely competitive, even when it comes to interactions with other mantises. It is crucial to understand and respect their territorial tendencies to ensure their well-being in captivity.

As we venture further into the intricacies of Ameles decolor and Ameles heldreichi, we shall uncover more fascinating aspects of these captivating ground-inhabiting mantises. From their nymph stages to their reproductive behaviors, these mantids have much to reveal about their extraordinary existence.

Species Overview

Within the genus Ameles, two captivating species stand out with their unique characteristics and geographical distribution: Ameles decolor and Ameles heldreichi. Let us delve into the specifics of these fascinating ground-inhabiting mantids.

Ameles Decolor

  • Scientific Name: Ameles decolor
  • Description: Ameles decolor showcases the quintessential traits of the Ameles genus, with small, agile bodies that allow for impressive jumping and running abilities. Their coloration varies, encompassing shades of grey, brown, or green, allowing them to blend seamlessly into their dry meadow and soil habitats.
  • Geographical Distribution: Ameles decolor can be found in regions of France, Italia, Spain, The Balkans, Croatia, and Greece, where they thrive in sunny and dry environments.

Ameles Heldreichi

  • Scientific Name: Ameles heldreichi
  • Description: Like its counterpart, Ameles heldreichi boasts the same ground-dwelling attributes and remarkable agility. With its reduced wings covering approximately a quarter of the abdomen, the female is unable to fly, while the male exhibits longer wings extending beyond the abdomen.
  • Geographical Distribution: Ameles heldreichi shares a similar distribution with Ameles decolor, being present in regions of France, Italia, Spain, The Balkans, Croatia, and Greece. These regions provide the ideal dry meadow and ground habitats for this fascinating species.

Other Known Species in the Genus Ameles

Apart from Ameles decolor and Ameles heldreichi, the Ameles genus is home to various other species, each with its unique characteristics and distribution. Some noteworthy species include:

  • Ameles spallanzania (Regions of France, Italia, Spain, The Balkans, Croatia, and Greece)
  • Ameles africana (African countries, including Morocco and Algeria)
  • Ameles sinaita (Found in the Sinai Peninsula)

These species offer a glimpse into the diverse world of Ameles mantids, each adapting to its specific environment and exhibiting a myriad of intriguing behaviors. As we explore further, we shall uncover the nuances that make each species a remarkable representative of the Ameles genus.

ameles decolor care sheet

Physical Characteristics

Size of Male and Female Mantids

In both Ameles decolor and Ameles heldreichi, there are distinct differences in size between male and female mantids.

  • Ameles Decolor:
    • Male Size: Approximately 2.8 cm
    • Female Size: Approximately 3 cm
  • Ameles Heldreichi:
    • Male Size: Approximately 3 cm
    • Female Size: Approximately 3.4 cm

From the above measurements, it is evident that the females of both species are generally larger than their male counterparts. These size differences can be important factors in their reproductive behaviors and ecological roles within their habitats.

Nymph Appearance

During their developmental stages, both Ameles decolor and Ameles heldreichi nymphs bear a striking resemblance to small grasshoppers, exhibiting similar traits and features.

  • Nymphs from L2 Stage Onward:
    • Ameles decolor and Ameles heldreichi nymphs, starting from the second instar (L2), share a common characteristic of resembling small grasshoppers.
    • As they progress through their nymph stages, their bodies elongate and become more streamlined, aiding in their agility and speed on the ground.
    • Nymphs of both species maintain a coloration that blends with their natural surroundings, serving as an effective camouflage mechanism.

The nymph stages of Ameles mantids are vital periods in their growth and development. Resembling small grasshoppers, these tiny creatures possess all the agility and traits they need to survive and thrive in their specific environments. Their resemblance to grasshoppers not only serves as a means of protection against predators but also enables them to be effective predators themselves, capturing prey with swift and precise movements.

Keeping Ameles Decolor and Ameles Heldreichi

Suitability for Beginners

Both Ameles decolor and Ameles heldreichi are captivating mantis species with unique characteristics, but they may present challenges for beginners due to their specific care requirements. As ground-inhabiting mantids, they require attention to their environmental needs, especially during the nymph stages. Therefore, beginners may find it more manageable to start with other mantis species that are less demanding in terms of care and husbandry.

Temperature, Humidity, and Lighting Conditions

You have to maintain required conditions in your enclosure to ensure safe Ameles keeping:

  • Temperature: Maintain a daytime temperature range of approximately 30°C to 40°C to provide a warm and comfortable environment for both species. During the diapause period, which simulates winter, lower the temperature to around 5°C to 10°C for about 3 to 4 months to support their reproductive cycle.
  • Humidity: Aim for a humidity level of 30% to 40% during the day, and around 40% to 50% at night. Regularly spray the enclosure to maintain adequate humidity levels. During the diapause period, adjust the spraying frequency to about 2 to 3 times a week.
  • Lighting: Provide a light source such as halogen lamps or other heating lamps to ensure sufficient lighting and maintain a summer light cycle of about 12 hours. In the winter, natural daylight is generally enough for both species.

Preferred Food Choices

Ameles decolor and Ameles heldreichi are predatory mantids that rely on a diverse diet of live insects to meet their nutritional needs. The following food choices are ideal for these mantis species:

  1. Drosophila: Fruit flies, commonly known as Drosophila, are a staple in the diet of both Ameles decolor and Ameles heldreichi. These small insects provide a convenient and nutritious food source for the mantids.
  2. Flies: Other types of flies, such as house flies or bluebottle flies, can also serve as suitable prey for these mantids. The flying movements of these insects stimulate the mantids’ hunting instincts.
  3. Moths: Moths are a valuable addition to the diet, offering variety and a different hunting challenge for the mantids.
  4. Small Crickets: While not as common as flies, small crickets are another option for providing essential nutrients to the mantids.
  5. Springtails: Springtails are particularly important for the nymph stages of Ameles decolor and Ameles heldreichi. Due to their tiny size, they are a perfect choice for very small nymphs, ensuring they receive sufficient nutrition during their crucial developmental stages.

Challenges of Keeping Nymphs

Keeping and breeding the nymphs of Ameles decolor and Ameles heldreichi can be particularly challenging, especially due to their small size and specific dietary needs.

  • Feeding Small Nymphs: Nymphs of both species are incredibly tiny, and their diet should consist of appropriate food sources like springtails, which are small enough for them to handle. Providing sufficient food for the nymphs can be challenging, and it requires careful observation to ensure they are well-fed.
  • Diapause Management: Successfully inducing and managing the diapause period is crucial for their reproductive health. Keeping the ootheca at a cooler temperature for the specified period can be a delicate task.

Tips for Proper Care

  • Feeding Frequency: Feed the nymphs small amounts of food regularly to avoid overfeeding and ensure they have enough sustenance for their rapid growth.
  • Observation: Regularly observe the nymphs to monitor their development and detect any potential issues early on.
  • Enclosure Setup: Create a suitable environment in the terrarium with natural elements such as small branches and plants to provide hiding spots and enrichment.
  • Separation: Due to their aggressive nature, ensure that the mantids are kept separately to avoid injury or cannibalism.
  • Proper Handling: Handle the mantids with care and avoid excessive handling to prevent stress and potential harm.
ameles heldreichi

Reproduction and Ootheca

Sexing Male and Female Mantids

Determining the sex of Ameles decolor and Ameles heldreichi can be accomplished through careful observation at different stages of their development:

  • Sexing at L5 Stage and Above: For both species, sexing can be done from the fifth nymphal stage (L5) and above. In males, counting the abdominal segments at the bottom of the abdomen is essential. Males typically have eight abdominal segments, whereas females have six segments.
  • Adult Sexing: In adulthood, males can be distinguished by their long wings and thin bodies, while females possess short wings and a larger abdomen.

Copulation Period

The copulation period for both species typically lasts for about 45 minutes. During this time, the male transfers sperm to the female for fertilization.

  1. Ootheca Number:
    • Both species produce three oothecae, ensuring a higher chance of successful hatching.
  2. Ootheca Size and Shape:
    • For both species: The ootheca is roundish and measures approximately 1 cm in size
  3. Ootheca Color:
    • Ameles Decolor: The ootheca color is grey, blending in with their surroundings.
    • Ameles Heldreichi: Unlike Ameles decolor, the ootheca of Ameles heldreichi showcases a distinct color variation, ranging from yellow-brown to grey.
  4. Incubation Requirements:
    • Both species share similar incubation requirements for successful reproduction.
    • Summer: Maintain a temperature of around 35°C to support healthy development.
    • Diapause (Winter Simulation): During this period, lower the temperature to a range of 5°C to 10°C for approximately 4 months to facilitate proper diapause and ensure successful hatching.

Challenges and Tips for Ootheca Care: Caring for the oothecae of both Ameles decolor and Ameles heldreichi requires attention and consideration. Here are some essential tips:

  1. Handle with Care: When handling the delicate oothecae, do so with utmost care to prevent any damage or disruption to their development.
  2. Stable Placement: Choose a secure and stable location for the oothecae, ensuring they are well-protected from potential harm.
  3. Maintain Temperature and Humidity: Throughout the incubation period, monitor and maintain appropriate temperature and humidity levels to support healthy embryo development.

By nurturing the oothecae of Ameles decolor and Ameles heldreichi with attentive care and providing the necessary environmental conditions, enthusiasts can witness the magic of hatching nymphs, continuing the enchanting life cycle of these captivating ground-inhabiting mantids.

Similar species

  1. Ameles Spallanzania (Spallanzani’s Ground Mantis): Similar to Ameles decolor and Ameles heldreichi, Ameles spallanzania is a ground-dwelling mantis species. They exhibit excellent jumping and running abilities and are found in various Mediterranean countries. Their females have reduced wings, making them unable to fly. These mantids also undergo a diapause period during winter, requiring specific temperature adjustments for successful breeding.
  2. Pseudoyersinia Brevipennis (Greek Pygmy Mantis): Pseudoyersinia brevipennis is a small and charming mantis species native to Greece. They have a unique appearance with a compact body and intricate color patterns. Their care requirements are relatively manageable, making them suitable for enthusiasts who have experience in mantis keeping.
  3. Geomantis Larvoides (African Twig Mantis): Geomantis larvoides is a twig-mimicking mantis species commonly found in Africa. As the name suggests, they resemble twigs or branches, camouflaging themselves perfectly in their natural environment. These mantids are relatively easy to care for, making them a good option for beginners interested in exploring mantis keeping.

These mantis species offer a diverse range of characteristics and behaviors, providing enthusiasts with exciting opportunities to explore and appreciate the wonders of the mantis world. When considering keeping and breeding these mantids, it is essential to research their specific care requirements to ensure their well-being and successful reproduction.

ameles heldreichi care sheet


Ameles decolor and Ameles heldreichi are ground-inhabiting mantis species with similar characteristics. They prefer dry meadows and small bushes, display excellent jumping and running abilities, and have nymphs that resemble small grasshoppers. The main differences lie in the color and size of their oothecae. Both species need specific care, including solitary housing to prevent aggression, diapause for reproductive health, and feeding small nymphs, especially with springtails. Captivating and rewarding, these mantids offer unique behaviors and environmental needs for enthusiasts to explore.

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