Hymenopus coronatus – Orchid Mantis: Care Guide

Hymenopus coronatus, the Orchid Mantis, stands as a testament to the intricate beauty and adaptation found within the insect world. Its resemblance to orchid flowers, coupled with its exceptional predatory skills, makes it a fascinating species for enthusiasts and researchers alike. The challenges posed by its care requirements further underscore the intricacies of maintaining this captivating mantis.

Hymenopus coronatus
© CheongWeei Gan, (CC-BY)

Genus Description

The genus Hymenopus is renowned for its stunning beauty and unique appearance. Often referred to as the orchid mantis due to its striking resemblance to orchid flowers, these captivating insects are a true marvel of nature. They are frequently found near or on actual flowers, particularly orchids, where their exquisite camouflage comes into play.

Appearance and Behavior

The nymphs of Hymenopus coronatus exhibit a distinctive progression in appearance. In the second instar (L2), they sport a red body with a black head and legs, remarkably resembling ants. As they mature to the third instar (L3) and beyond, they transform into a pristine white color, akin to larger nymphs. This shift in coloration serves as a remarkable adaptation, enhancing their orchid mimicry.

Orchid mantids are known for their exceptional predatory prowess. Females, in particular, display high levels of aggression when hunting for prey, showcasing their effectiveness as ambush predators. Their modified front legs, reminiscent of flower petals, aid in capturing unsuspecting insects that are lured by their floral disguise.

Species and Distribution

The Orchid Mantis, scientifically known as Hymenopus coronatus, belongs to the super-order Dictyoptera, order Mantodea, and family Hymenopodidae. It is found in various regions, including India, Thailand, Borneo, Malaysia, and China. Inhabiting environments such as orchids and bushes, these mantids thrive in damp areas, particularly tropical rainforests.

Challenges and Care

Caring for the Orchid Mantis can be a complex endeavor due to its specific requirements. These mantids necessitate careful attention to factors such as light, temperature, and humidity. Adequate ventilation is also crucial, striking a balance between the need for humidity and the avoidance of excessive moisture. Moreover, it’s essential to note the significant size difference between the sexes, which may impact housing and breeding strategies.

Species Variants and Camouflage

The nymphs of the Orchid Mantis display a range of colors, transitioning from white to pink shades, while adult individuals can exhibit yellow hues. This variability in color adds to the intrigue surrounding these creatures and their remarkable mimicry of orchid blooms. This adaptation showcases the ingenious ways in which nature employs camouflage to deceive both predators and prey.

Males and Females of the Orchid Mantis

Size and Lifespan

Distinguishing between male and female Orchid Mantises reveals intriguing differences in size, lifespan, and physical characteristics. The males, measuring around 2.5 to 3 centimeters, exhibit a more compact stature compared to their female counterparts, who grow to approximately 6 centimeters. These mantises’ lifespans are marked by distinct disparities as well. Males typically enjoy a lifespan of about 5 months, encompassing around 2.5 months as nymphs and 2.5 months as adults, involving roughly 5 molting stages. On the other hand, females lead a longer existence, spanning about 9.5 months, which includes approximately 3.5 months as nymphs and an extended 6 months as adults, encompassing approximately 7 molting stages.


Distinguishing between male and female Orchid Mantises is facilitated by various key characteristics. In males, from the fourth instar (L4) onwards, they can be identified as smaller than female nymphs at the same developmental stage. Males exhibit a distinctive brown line at the pronotum and lack the „v” groove seen at the undersite of the abdominal segment. As they mature into adults, their appearance remains consistent with that of L4, marked by a slender body and a notable diminutive size in comparison to the females.

Conversely, females are distinguishable by their larger size in comparison to male nymphs at equivalent stages, a feature observable from the fourth instar onwards. Their pronotum bears a discernible green line, and a distinctive „v” groove is present on one of the final abdominal segments on the undersite of the abdomen. These characteristics persist as the females reach adulthood, characterized by the same traits as observed in L4 but on a notably grander scale.

Orchid Mantis
© CheongWeei Gan, (CC-BY)

Crafting Intricate Enclosures for Orchid Mantis

Creating the perfect habitat for Orchid Mantises is an art that combines careful attention to detail with a deep understanding of their natural needs. These intricately designed enclosures serve as microcosms of their native environments, providing them with the ideal conditions to thrive and showcase their unique behaviors.

Light and Temperature

A delicate equilibrium of lighting is essential for Hymenopus Coronatus. While daylight suffices, incorporating supplementary lighting such as halogen lamps is advisable. This provides the nuanced illumination required for these creatures. However, it’s important to avoid excessively bright settings. Orchid Mantises thrive when they have access to shaded spots within their enclosure. Maintaining a consistent light cycle of approximately 12 hours mimics the day-night rhythm they encounter in the wild. The ambient temperature is another critical factor. Keeping the daytime temperature between 25°C and 30°C (77°F to 86°F) creates a comfortable atmosphere. Ensuring the night temperature doesn’t drop below 20°C (68°F) safeguards their well-being throughout their life cycle.

Humidity and Moisture

Hymenopus mantises have a particular affinity for humidity levels that mirror their native tropical habitats. During the day, humidity levels ranging from 50% to 70% provide the perfect balance. Nights call for slightly higher humidity, around 70% to 80%, fostering an environment that encourages their natural behaviors. A gentle misting every 2 to 3 days maintains the requisite moisture. However, it’s imperative to avoid saturating the enclosure, which can lead to detrimental mold growth or excess moisture that compromises the mantises’ health.

Enclosure Size

Terrarium dimensions are a crucial aspect of creating a conducive environment. For individual males, a compact space measuring about 10cm x 10cm x 15cm offers ample room. In contrast, the females, with their larger size, require more expansive quarters at approximately 20cm x 20cm x 30cm. Community housing necessitates even larger dimensions, typically around 30cm x 30cm x 50cm, suitable for accommodating several males. However, it’s essential to note that females should be kept solitary to prevent territorial conflicts.

When it comes to the terrarium’s aesthetic, recreating the diverse elements of their natural habitat is key. Think of incorporating various decorations like branches, twigs, leaves, bark sticks, roots, and even living plants. The inclusion of vibrant orchid flowers not only elevates the visual appeal but also resonates with their orchid mimicry, creating a dynamic and engaging environment.


Choosing the right substrate is pivotal. A blend of earth and sand mixed with a touch of perlite creates a suitable foundation. To enhance the ambiance, a layer of moss can be added, contributing to both aesthetics and humidity regulation.

Space for Safe Molting

Facilitating the molting process is a paramount consideration. Orchid Mantises require ample hanging space for this critical phase. Providing structures at the top of the enclosure from which they can safely hang during molting is essential. Window screen mesh proves to be an effective choice, offering a secure yet flexible platform.


Satisfying the dietary requirements of Hymenopus Coronatus is a vital aspect of their care, enabling their growth, vitality, and overall well-being. These captivating insects are carnivores with discerning tastes, and their food preferences play a significant role in their development and behavior.

Varied and Nutrient-Rich Diet

Orchid Mantises have a diverse palate that includes an array of insects. Their diet encompasses small prey items such as Drosophila (fruit flies), flies, moths, cockroaches, bees, and even garden pests. This variety in their food options ensures they receive a balanced assortment of nutrients necessary for their health. Offering a range of prey species not only addresses their nutritional needs but also stimulates their natural hunting instincts and behaviors.

Frequency and Quantity

Feeding frequency depends on the mantises’ growth stage. Younger nymphs require more frequent feedings, usually every 1 to 2 days, as they experience rapid growth. As they mature, the frequency can be gradually reduced to every 3 to 4 days. It’s important to provide an appropriate quantity of prey items that matches the mantis’s size and appetite. Overfeeding can lead to health issues, while underfeeding can result in stunted growth.

Providing Live Prey

Hymenopus Coronatus prefer live prey, as their hunting behaviors are instinctive and crucial for their mental and physical stimulation. Live prey items simulate natural movements and elicit the mantises’ predatory instincts. This type of feeding also promotes exercise and mental engagement, contributing to their overall well-being.

Observing Feeding Behavior

Witnessing Orchid Mantises hunt and consume their prey is a fascinating spectacle. They employ their unique camouflage and ambush tactics to capture unsuspecting insects drawn to their orchid-like appearance. Observing their feeding behaviors not only offers insights into their adaptation and survival strategies but also allows enthusiasts to connect with their natural instincts.

Offering a Feast for Growth

As these mantises progress through molting stages, their dietary needs may change. During molting, they might not eat for a short period as they shed their old exoskeleton and harden their new one. It’s important to refrain from feeding them during this time to avoid interfering with the molting process. After molting, they will resume their regular feeding routines.

Hymenopus coronatus orchid mantis
© Wich’yanan L, (CC-BY)

Orchid Mantis Breeding

Breeding the enchanting Hymenopus coronatus, also known as the Orchid Mantis, unveils a captivating journey into the intricate world of insect propagation. The process is a meticulous dance of timing, environment, and behavioral cues that results in the creation of new generations of these captivating creatures. With the fusion of scientific insight and meticulous care, breeders can partake in the wonder of witnessing the stages from copulation to hatchling emergence.

Copulation Readiness

Male and female Orchid Mantises exhibit distinct timelines for copulation readiness. Males typically become receptive around 1 week after their final molt, while females require a longer period of approximately 3 weeks after their last molt to reach copulation readiness. The copulation itself is a delicate and intricate act, lasting approximately 6 to 10 hours.

Ootheca Building and Incubation

The initial step in breeding involves ootheca building. This phase occurs around 4 to 6 weeks after the last molt. Notably, the ootheca is covered in a white foam, a unique aspect of Orchid Mantis reproduction. This foam is vital, as it aids in protecting the ootheca and ultimately requires careful management through periodic water spraying.

Incubating the Ootheca

Incubation marks the transition from ootheca building to the anticipation of hatchlings. Maintaining an incubation temperature of 30°C and humidity levels between 80% and 100% is crucial. Regular misting is essential to ensure proper moisture levels for successful hatching. The incubation period spans 4 to 6 weeks, a time of eager anticipation for what lies ahead.

Hatchling Emergence

Hatching from the ootheca yields a spectacle of new life entering the world. Orchid Mantis hatchlings emerge in remarkable numbers, with up to 120 offspring per ootheca, averaging around 40. These minuscule hatchlings measure around 8mm and sport a distinctive appearance of red bodies, black heads, and legs, akin to ant-mimicry.

Breeding Conditions

Maintaining optimal breeding conditions ensures successful outcomes. Temperatures ranging from 25°C to 30°C and humidity levels between 70% and 90% foster an environment conducive to breeding. A balance must be struck to prevent excessive moisture, which could prove detrimental.

Breeding Tips

Understanding the differing molting rates between male and female Orchid Mantises offers a strategic advantage. By keeping males cooler and limiting their food intake in comparison to females, breeders can orchestrate synchronicity in their maturation. This deliberate approach ensures that both males and females reach adulthood in a manner that aligns with their natural behavior.

When it comes to actual mating, providing the female with food serves as a clever strategy. A well-fed female is more likely to be engrossed in consuming her prey, potentially allowing the male to approach and initiate the mating process with minimal disturbance. This will lower the likehood of canibalism.


Our journey through the enchanting world of the Orchid Mantis (Hymenopus coronatus) has unveiled a captivating tapestry of nature’s artistry and adaptation. From its exquisite orchid mimicry to its predatory prowess, every facet of the Orchid Mantis has held us captivated, offering a glimpse into the intricate marvels within the insect realm.

In crafting their enclosures, we’ve learned the delicate symphony of light, temperature, humidity, and space that nurtures their well-being, mirroring their natural habitat and fostering growth. Feeding these creatures goes beyond sustenance, delving into their palate and instincts, allowing us to witness their hunting prowess and innate behaviors.

Our journey reached its zenith in breeding Hymenopus coronatus, where timing, environment, and behavior converged to create new life. From copulation readiness to hatchling emergence, we’ve partaken in the wonder of their life cycle, becoming active participants in nature’s intricate dance.

In summation, this white praying mantis journey transcends its captivating appearance, revealing the intricate threads woven into our natural world. From mimicry to care and breeding, these insects beckon us to appreciate the beauty of even the smallest inhabitants of our planet. As we explore the depths of their existence, we’re reminded of the awe-inspiring tapestry that is nature – a masterpiece of awe, wonder, and reverence.

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