Giant Asian Mantis – Hierodula Species: Care Sheet

Welcome to the enthralling world of the Hierodula species, commonly known as Giant Asian Mantis. This captivating insect, frequently found in terrariums, holds a prominent place among mantis enthusiasts and pet keepers.

Giant asian mantis
© Alexis, (CC-BY)

General Description

Hierodula, commonly known as the Giant Asian Mantis, is a frequently kept inhabitant of terrariums, much like Sphodromantis. Belonging to the normal-type mantids, they exhibit notable sexual dimorphism, with females typically being larger and more robust than males. These mantises are known for their pastel green coloration and possess a distinctive long pronotum, which sets them apart from other species. With over 105 described species, some notable ones include Hierodula membranacea, H. patellifera patellifera, and H. tenius. Hierodula is renowned for its ease of care and breeding, making it an excellent choice for beginners in the world of mantis keeping.

Hierodula is known for its ease of care, making it a suitable choice for both beginners and experienced keepers alike.

Natural Habitat

In the wild, Hierodula mantises thrive in damp and warm forested areas, often concealed among the foliage. They can be found comfortably nestled on branches and in the leafage, taking advantage of the humid conditions. The species is native to regions in South and Southwest Asia, where the environment provides an ideal setting for their growth and development.


The nymphs of Hierodula have a characteristic appearance. From the second instar (L2) onwards, they resemble larger nymphs and do not exhibit mimicry. As they undergo molting stages to grow, they gradually transform into their distinct adult form.


As with many mantis species, the sexual dimorphism in Hierodula is quite pronounced. Males generally reach a size of approximately 7.5 cm, while females tend to be larger, measuring around 8.5 cm. The lifespan of males spans approximately 6.5 months, including both nymph and adult stages, with approximately 9 moltings. On the other hand, females have a longer lifespan, around 12 months, encompassing 4 nymphal molts and 8 molts as adults.

To differentiate between males and females, one can examine the abdominal segments. In males (L5 and above), the abdomen consists of 8 segments. In adulthood, males are distinguishable by their slender build and longer wings compared to the abdomen. In contrast, females (L5 and above) have 6 abdominal segments. As adults, their bodies are more compact, and their wings cover the abdomen.


Caring for the Giant Asian Mantis (Hierodula membranacea) is a rewarding experience, and proper husbandry is key to their well-being. Ensuring a suitable living environment will contribute to their health and happiness.


During the day, providing access to natural daylight is sufficient for the mantises. However, supplementing their habitat with halogen lamps or similar light sources is recommended to ensure they receive adequate illumination and maintain a proper day-night cycle.


Maintaining an appropriate temperature range is crucial for the thriving of Hierodula mantises. The daytime temperature should be kept between 20°C to 30°C (68°F to 86°F). To prevent temperature drops during the night, ensure the enclosure remains no colder than 20°C (68°F).


Hierodula mantises require a suitable humidity level to mimic their natural damp habitat. The daytime humidity should ideally be maintained at 50% to 60%. At night, the humidity can be slightly higher, ranging from 70% to 80%. Regularly spraying the enclosure every two days will help maintain the required humidity levels.


As highly aggressive predators, Hierodula mantises have a diverse diet. Their preferred food sources include drosophila, flies, moths, cockroaches, and crickets. Providing a varied and nutritious diet is essential to meet their nutritional needs and promote overall health.


For single keeping, a terrarium with dimensions of at least 20cm x 20cm x 30cm (approximately 8″ x 8″ x 12″) is recommended. For communal keeping, it is generally not advisable, but if desired, a larger enclosure of similar dimensions can house around 20 freshly hatched larvae. However, female mantises should be kept individually from the 5th instar onwards to prevent potential conflicts.

Ensure there is ample hanging space within the enclosure to support the molting process safely. Providing a top surface from which mantises can hang is crucial for their well-being. Window screen mesh is an excellent choice for this purpose, offering a secure and suitable area for molting activities.

Terrarium Decorations and Substrate

To create a suitable habitat for Hierodula mantises, incorporate natural elements such as branches and barksticks. These offer essential surfaces for molting and climbing. The preferred substrate is a mixture of pulp and earth-sand, providing a comfortable and moisture-retaining base.

Hierodula species
© Kai Squires, (CC-BY)

Breeding Giant Asian Mantis

If you’re captivated by the enchanting world of mantises and wish to explore their fascinating life cycle, the Giant Asian Mantis (Hierodula membranacea) offers an exceptional journey into the art of breeding these mesmerizing creatures. Understanding the intricacies of their reproductive process and providing the ideal conditions for successful mating and ootheca development will be your key to unlocking the wonders of Hierodula mantis breeding.


Before embarking on the breeding journey, it’s vital to be aware of the distinct readiness periods for male and female mantises. Males generally reach copulation readiness approximately one week after their last molt, while females require a more extended period of around three weeks.

The courtship dance between male and female Hierodula mantises sets the stage for their intimate encounter. During copulation, which lasts between 12 to 20 hours, the male transfers sperm to the female, ensuring successful fertilization.

Throughout the breeding process, maintaining an ambient temperature between 20°C to 30°C and a humidity level of 50% to 70% is essential for the well-being of the mantises. Regularly spraying the enclosure every second day ensures their comfort and health.

When engaging in the mating process, it’s advisable to offer some food to the female. This thoughtful gesture keeps her preoccupied with her meal, creating a smoother approach for the male during courtship.


After the courtship, the female begins the awe-inspiring process of ootheca formation within 4 days to 1 week. The ootheca, or egg case, serves as a protective vessel for the mantis eggs during development.

A fully formed ootheca measures approximately 3cm and boasts a distinct longish-round, compact shape. Its coloration ranges from light to dark brown, making it a captivating sight.


Creating the ideal environment for incubation is essential for the successful development of mantis nymphs. A temperature range of 25°C to 30°C and humidity around 60% provide the nurturing conditions needed. Regularly spraying the ootheca every second day helps maintain the necessary moisture levels.

As the ootheca is laid, a sense of anticipation fills the air. The incubation period typically spans 7 to 10 days, and each passing day brings the hatching moment closer.


The culmination of the incubation period brings the miraculous moment of hatching. A single ootheca can yield up to 250 mantis nymphs, with an average of around 200 hatching successfully. These tiny nymphs emerge at a size of approximately 9mm, displaying a captivating light brown or beige color without any mimicry markings.

Giant asian mantis ootheca


In the captivating realm of mantises, the Giant Asian Mantis (Hierodula membranacea) stands out as a fascinating and enchanting species, offering a mesmerizing journey into the art of breeding. As we’ve delved into the intricacies of their reproductive process, we’ve unveiled the magic of courtship dances, the creation of protective oothecae, and the miracle of hatching hundreds of tiny mantis nymphs. Understanding the distinct readiness periods for males and females, maintaining the ideal conditions for incubation, and providing a nurturing environment have all proven essential to successful breeding.

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