Odontomantis micans: The Ant Mantis

Discover the captivating world of Odontomantis micans, the Ant Mantis. Explore the artistry of mimicry as this species imitates ants in both appearance and behavior. From its intriguing nymph stages to its thriving habitat across Southeast Asia, uncover the secrets of this unique mantis. Learn how to care for these enchanting creatures while appreciating the wonders of nature’s intricate design.

Ant mantis
© Chun Xing Wong, (CC-BY-NC)

Genus Overview

Odontomantis, a small yet captivating genus of mantises, is known for its remarkable ant-mimicry. These mantises maintain their ant-like appearance and behavior until their imaginal molt. The imitation of ants extends to their behavior, making them a fascinating subject of study and observation.

These enchanting creatures find their abode amidst the lushness of bushes and shrubs. The remarkable characteristic of this genus is its relative tolerance towards group living. Their inherent aggressiveness does not manifest prominently, allowing for cohabitation even amongst adults. However, caution should be exercised to separate them by sexes.

Species Insight: Odontomantis micans

General Description

Odontomantis micans, commonly known as the Ant Mantis, exemplifies the captivating traits of its genus. This species, first described by SAUSSURE in 1871, is a testament to the beauty and intricacy of nature’s mimicry. The subtle elegance of this mantis is a sight to behold, imitating ants not just in appearance but in behavior as well.

Nymph Development

As Odontomantis micans progresses through its nymph stages, its transformation unfolds like a mesmerizing story:

InstarAppearanceNotable Features
L2Small, black nymphsEmbracing ant-mimicry from the start
L3Black with brown-orange tibiaContinuing the ant-like masquerade
L4Black body, orange-brown armsAdapting ant-like attributes
L5Black body, green legsA fusion of mimicry and evolution
L6Black upper side, green undersideMales become subadults, maintaining mimicry
L7Adult males; Subadult femalesMaturation and continuation of mimicry, arms like in L6

Taxonomic Details

  • Super-Order: Dictyoptera
  • Order: Mantodea
  • Family: Hymenopodidae
  • Subfamily: Acromantinae
  • Tribe: Acromantini

Habitat and Spreading

Odontomantis micans thrives in the captivating landscapes of India, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Sumatra, Borneo, and the Sunda Islands. These regions provide the ideal mix of bushes and damp warmth, creating the perfect setting for these enchanting creatures to flourish.

Sexing Ant Mantises: A Sizeable Distinction

In the realm of the Ant Mantis (Odontomantis micans), the distinction between males and females goes beyond just appearance. Let’s delve into the world of these enchanting creatures and uncover the differences that define their lives.

Size Matters

Male: Standing at an average size of approximately 1.5cm, male Ant Mantises boast a modest stature. This diminutive size doesn’t diminish their significance, as their role in the mantis world holds its own charm.

Female: In contrast, female Ant Mantises take the stage with an impressive size of around 2.4cm. Their larger frame hints at the significant role they play in the continuation of their species.

Lifespan Insights

The timeline of a mantis’s life is a fascinating journey that reflects its growth and transformations:

LifespanApproximately 5 monthsApproximately 6.5 months
Moltings6 moltings7 moltings

Sexing Methods

The ability to differentiate between male and female Ant Mantises is a skill that unveils the complexities of their biology:

Male Sexing:

  • L5 and Above: Males can be identified by counting the abdominal segments, which typically number 8.
  • Adults: Adult males are characterized by their smaller and slender physique compared to females. Once again, counting the abdominal segments serves as a reliable identifier.

Female Sexing:

  • L5 and Above: Females stand out by having 6 abdominal segments, setting them apart from their male counterparts.
  • Adults: Fully grown female Ant Mantises are distinguished by their larger and more compact body structure. Counting the abdominal segments continues to be a reliable method of differentiation.

Behavior and Care

While the aggression of Odontomantis micans towards prey and other mantises is relatively low, it’s essential to create an environment that supports their natural behavior. These creatures master the art of ant mimicry, both in appearance and action, underscoring the captivating complexity of the natural world.

To ensure their well-being, proper ventilation and prevention of stagnant moisture are crucial. These considerations are vital for nurturing the intricate beauty and mimicry that define Odontomantis micans.

While the aggression of Odontomantis micans towards prey and other mantises is relatively low, it’s essential to create an environment that supports their natural behavior. These creatures master the art of ant mimicry, both in appearance and action, underscoring the captivating complexity of the natural world.


Light Source: Natural daylight shines as the primary light source for these mantises. However, the inclusion of halogen lights and similar options is recommended, enhancing their living space and their overall well-being.

Light Length: Offering them around 12 hours of light each day mirrors the natural cycle, ensuring that they thrive in a balanced environment.


Daytime Temperature: Maintaining a cozy daytime temperature range of 28°C to 32°C recreates the warmth of their natural habitat, allowing these creatures to flourish.

Night Temperature: As the sun dips below the horizon, the temperature should not drop below 20°C, safeguarding their comfort throughout the night.


Daytime Humidity: Keeping the humidity levels at 60% to 70% during the day provides the ideal atmosphere for Ant Mantises to thrive.

Night Humidity: As the night falls, a humidity range of 60% to 80% ensures their well-being throughout their nocturnal adventures.

Humidity Hint: Regularly misting their habitat every evening offers them the moisture they require. Larvae, being more sensitive, should be provided a slightly wetter environment. While doing so, avoid stagnant moisture to prevent any potential issues.

Terrarium Dimensions and Design

Single Keeping: For individual mantises, a terrarium with dimensions of at least 10cm x 10cm x 10cm provides them ample space to explore and thrive.

Community Keeping: Should you choose to nurture these captivating creatures in groups, a larger terrarium measuring around 20cm x 20cm x 30cm is recommended. This space can comfortably accommodate approximately 4 couples.

Terrarium Decor: Embrace the natural world by adorning their habitat with branches, twigs, and microphyllous plants. These elements not only provide enrichment but also mirror their natural surroundings.

Terrarium Substrate: The blend of an earth-sand mixture or pulp substrate recreates their native environment and enhances their overall well-being.

Molting Space: To ensure their safety during molting, provide ample hanging space within the terrarium. Having a suitable anchor point at the enclosure’s top, such as window screen mesh, allows these mantises to safely undergo their transformative molting process.

Culinary Delights

Preferred Food: Drosophila melanogaster, springtails, small flies, and a variety of small food sources cater to their dietary needs, ensuring they receive the essential nutrients they require.

Similar Species

Species Companions: If you’re venturing into the world of mantis keeping, consider nurturing Ceratomantis saussurii alongside Ant Mantises. Similar care requirements make them compatible companions.

Odontomantis micans
By Aris riyanto – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0

The Intricacies of Breeding Ant Mantises

Breeding the captivating Odontomantis micans unveils a delicate dance of readiness, copulation, and nurturing. Let’s delve into the world of mantis reproduction and explore the steps to successful breeding.

Copulation Insights

Male Readiness: Around 1 week after the last molt, male Ant Mantises become copulation-ready, eager to engage in the intricate process of reproduction.

Female Readiness: Similarly, approximately 1 week after the last molt, female Ant Mantises become receptive to copulation, setting the stage for the dance of attraction.

Copulation Duration: The intense exchange of genetic material lasts for about 20 minutes, a brief yet crucial encounter in their lifecycle.

Mating Tip: Facilitate a successful encounter by providing some prey for the female. This way, she remains occupied while the male approaches, reducing the likelihood of canibalism.

Ooth Building and Hatching

Ooth First Building: The process of building the ootheca, or egg case, takes between 2 to 14 days, highlighting the variation inherent in the world of mantis reproduction.

Hatching Duration: After the ootheca is constructed, patience is rewarded with the emergence of hatchlings within 6 to 8 days, signaling the next chapter in the life cycle.

Ooth Placement: The female Ant Mantis strategically places the ootheca on leaves, providing a secure location for the eggs to develop.

Ooth Quantity: Over her lifetime, a female Ant Mantis can lay anywhere from 10 to 15 oothecae, contributing to the future generation of these enchanting creatures.

Ooth Size and Appearance: The ootheca measures around 1cm in size, exhibiting a roundish, ribbed structure with a yellow to light brown hue.

Incubation Insights

Temperature and Humidity: Maintaining an incubation temperature of 25°C to 32°C alongside humidity levels of 70% to 90% ensures the proper development of the eggs. Daily spraying is recommended to uphold the optimal environment.

Incubation Period: The incubation period lasts approximately 3 to 4 weeks, a relatively short span that holds the promise of new life.

Hatching Revelation: The moment of hatching brings forth a wave of up to 30 tiny hatchlings, each measuring a mere 5mm in size. Their black appearance, coupled with ant mimicry, adds to the intrigue.

Nurturing the Offspring

Breeding Conditions: Maintaining a breeding temperature of 25°C to 30°C and a humidity range of 70% to 90% ensures that the young mantises receive the environment they need to thrive. Stagnant moisture should be avoided to prevent any issues.

Breeding Behavior: Male Ant Mantises exhibit a swift and skillful approach to courting the female. After copulation, the male remains on the female’s back for up to 4 hours, a phenomenon that adds another layer of intrigue to their behavior.

Feeding the Nymphs: The nymphs, while tiny, have voracious appetites. Offering them springtails or Drosophila melanogaster ensures they receive the sustenance required for their growth.


Concluding the Ant Mantis journey, our exploration of Odontomantis micans has illuminated the world of mimicry, life cycles, and nurturing care. These captivating creatures seamlessly imitate ants in both appearance and behavior, reflecting nature’s subtleties as they progress from nymph to adult, thriving in their bushy habitats. Crafting an optimal terrarium habitat orchestrates light, temperature, and humidity, providing a sanctuary where these mantises flourish, molt, and inspire fascination.

The choreography of copulation, ootheca formation, and hatching script the mantis legacy, with thoughtful care nurturing the next generation. Ant Mantises epitomize nature’s marvels on a micro scale, reminding us of beauty woven into the smallest aspects. This microcosm highlights life’s intricate interplay, from mimicry’s enigma to the complexities of reproduction, urging us to treasure and safeguard nature’s delicate gems.

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