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Country of origin

South America

Acanthops falcata

(South American Dead Leaf Mantis )

This is a bizarre little brown mantis that looks like a dried shriveled leaf; which gives it perfect camouflage in the bushes or amongst the leaf litter in the wild. The raptor front legs, at rest are tucked up against the sides of its head and prothorax and are huge in comparison to the rest of its body, this enables such a small mantis to take relatively large prey
In captivity females have an adult life of about 6 months, whereas males will live for only about 1 month (possibly less if mated with multiple females)
It is an efficient predator, readily striking out at, and catching prey of its own size, however, if a predator approaches, whilst the male can take flight, the female, being flightless, will start a complex startle display to scare the predator away, or to give it time to make its escape
Sexual dimorphism is very strong in this species as the female does not fly and weighs twice as much or more as the winged male. The male has long wings, longer than its abdomen, and is an extremely competent flier, likely searching out static females by following an airborne pheremone released by the sexually mature females, normally just after first light when the males are in flight. After copulation, the male plays no further part in caring for the offspring and the female seldom cannibalises the male after copulation. The female will feed as voraciously as it can until it is ready to lay its ootheca (eggsac), at which time, it will select a suitable site and begin to lay its eggs (normaly 20 to 30 eggs in an ootheca). This is one of the most bizarre oothecas in the mantis world as the eggs are laid in a tube attached to a thin thread attached to a branch, and the female actually moves down the ootheca as it lays the eggs ! a clever trick from an amazing little mantis.
Oothecas may be laid every 10 days and normally hatch within 20 days, the nymphs sitting on the ootheca after hatching for often a few hours before dispersing. After the first moult, the nymphs are not cannibalistic, but will be after the second moult. Often one mating will enable the female to lay multiple fertile oothecas.
Hatching to adult is in 7 moults

Adult female
Adult male
Size L6 to L7 nymph
Size L4 to L5 nymph
Size L3 nymph
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Taxonomic Classification

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Arthropoda
  • Class:
  • Order:
  • Family: Acanthopidae
  • Genus: Acanthops
  • Species: A. falcata

Picture Gallery

Care Sheet

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