Oddly resembling withering leaves, the ghost mantis is a very unique looking species. They are a smaller and more docile species of mantis only getting to be about 2 inches in size and while often are dark brown in color, they can also be found in light brown, tan, and even green.
The ghost mantis typically has a lifespan of 6-8 months, but in captivity under optimum conditions have been recorded to live as long as 18 months.
With their ability to thrive in a wide range of conditions, along with their small tank size requirements, they can make a great beginner pet for insect enthusiasts.
Tank Set Up
With their small size, the minimum tank requirements for the ghost mantis is 3 times the mantis size for height and 2 times the mantis size in width, along with a tight fitting lid, preferably with a mesh screen top that will allow for good ventilation and for your mantis to be able to hang on, but will not allow space for flies to escape.
You will want to slowly upgrade the tank in accordance with the mantis’ size. If a young mantis is put in too large of an enclosure, they may not be able to find their food in the tank.
With the ghost mantis being one of the less cannibalistic species of mantis, you technically can house more than one mantis in a larger enclosure, but it is not recommended for beginners.
The ideal temperature for these mantises is 78° but they can tolerate a wide temperature range between 65°- 80°, so you may or may not need to provide your enclosure with low level overhead heating. The tank also needs to maintain humidity levels of between 50-70%.
Light daily misting, using distilled or dechlorinated water, will help to maintain humidity along with providing a drink for your mantis, but while misting, do try to avoid spraying your mantis. You will also want to avoid using plain tap water, as this contains chemicals such as chlorine and chloramines that can be harmful to your mantis.
In your tank you will want to provide a perching area for your mantis, such as a live plant, fake plant, a large twig, or small branch. This will help your mantis in its molting process. Typically, when molting your mantis will climb up and hang from the top of the enclosure. If keeping a live plant or real branches, you will want to properly quarantine or treat them, to make sure they are safe and free of any pests, pesticides, herbicides, or fungicides, before placing them in with your mantis. For substrate, you can use paper towels, coco fiber, and or sphagnum moss. Coco fiber and sphagnum moss can help to maintain humidity levels in your tank.
When it comes to diet, ghost mantises will prefer flying insects, such as fruit flies or bottle flies, however they can eat small crickets or grasshoppers. Keep in mind though, uneaten crickets or grasshoppers left in the tank could harm or stress your mantis, so you will want to take care to remove them.
What you feed your mantis will also depend on the age and size of your mantis, you want to feed the mantis prey that is about the size of the mantis’ head. Younger ghost mantises will typically be fed small fruit flies, while the older mantises will be fed houseflies or blue or green bottle flies.
If you would like to know whether your mantis is male or female, once they get older, or at least 37 days old, females will tend to be slightly larger than males and the base of the antennae will be wider and longer on males than females. Males also have a taller more jagged crown and tend to be mostly black or gray in color, whereas females have a more symmetrical crown and are typically brown or green.