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Dead Leaf Mantis Deroplatys Sp. Care Guide

Your guide on how to care for a Deroplatys sp. Dead leaf mantis.

Table of Contents

Dead Leaf Mantis, Deroplatys Sp. Care

Dead leaf mantis are stunning, leaf mimicking mantids from the tropical forests of South Asia. In the wild, these masters of foliate camouflage disguise themselves amongst crisp, dying amber leaves as they await small, unsuspecting critters to wander their way. What’s most interesting, however, about Deroplatys dead leaf mantids, is their capability to grow to astounding sizes and live a longer life than the majority of other available mantis species. 

Dead leaf mantis are a brilliant intermediate-level species with a number of unique qualities that really make them stand out. So, if you’re looking to own one, let’s break down how you can care for this amazing insect and how you can keep yours happy and healthy.

As a quick note, Deroplatys is the genus that “true” dead leaf mantis are in. Some popular species include Deroplatys dessicata, Deroplatys lobata, Deroplatys trigonodera, and Deroplatys truncata. These are all relatively identical in care, being from similar regions of the world, and so will come under this general Deroplatys sp. care guide. However, the care information in this guide should not be applied to other species such as Acanthops erosula, the Peruvian dead leaf mantis, as these belong to a different genus.

Read: How To Care For A Praying Mantis Nymph

Is The Dead Leaf Mantis Right For Me?

The dead leaf mantis is a large, intermediate-care level mantis, as marked in our store. This means that we would not recommend this species to brand-new mantis keepers, but to those with a little experience under their belt. Mantis aren’t generally “difficult” pets to keep, but there is a learning curve to be taken into consideration. 

This mantis species require a warm, humid environment which can be a little harder for beginners to replicate, hence the care difficulty rating for this species. We recommend raising at least a couple of mantis before tackling this species, but believe us – they’re worth the wait!

Molting In Dead Leaf Mantis

All praying mantis, insects & arthropods shed their exoskeletons in a process known as moulting, or ecdysis. This is a complex procedure, and while we talk about it in detail in our post on praying mantis moulting. We make sure to mention it in every guide just in case. 

Read: The Complete Guide To Praying Mantis Moulting

Moulting appears to be the leading cause of death in captive and wild mantis, as failed moults result in “mismoults”, which is why we place such an emphasis on it.

Dead leaf mantids moult 6-9 times before reaching adulthood, after which they will not moult again. After reaching adulthood, your dead leaf mantis will gain a set of wings. Females cannot fly, males can.

Housing & Keeping

The enclosure of any praying mantis must be 3x as tall as the total length of the mantis. Deroplatys sp. mantis require a fairly humid environment, kept at around 50% – 80% RH (relative humidity). Dead leaf mantis need it a little more humid, as their shield shaped thoraxes can make moulting a little difficult. 

This species should be kept a warm at around 25c using a heat mat if your home is too cold. Deroplatys nymphs will thrive in the Bug Pets Made-For-Mantis Nymph Size Enclosure.

Read: The Complete Guide To Housing A Praying Mantis And Creating Enclosures.

Feeding & Misting

Dead leaf mantis love flying, aerial prey like moths & flies. Young nymphs are happy to munch on D. hydei fruit flies, progressing onto blue bottle flies, wax moths, and locusts. Mist the walls of your dead leaf mantises enclosure once a day to keep the humidity up and to allow them a daily drink. For more information on feeding a praying mantis, check out our complete mantis feeding guide.

Read: The Complete Guide To Feeding A Praying Mantis

Sexing A Deroplatys Sp. Dead Leaf Mantis

Dead leaf mantids are easy to sex as adults due to their dimorphic shields and body shape. For our example, we’ll be using Deroplatys Dessicata. For more information on sexing your mantis, check out our mantis sexing guide.

Read: Is Your Mantis Male Or Female? Sexing A Praying Mantis

1. Shield & Body Shape

Here’s a clear view above of the difference in body & shield shape below between male and female dead leaf mantis, with the female to the left and male to the right. Female dead leaf mantis are more angular, with a uniquely shaped shield with points on the end. Even the markings and colour are slightly different. The males have a round, small shield.

Mature female Deroplatys dessicata.

Mature male Deroplatys dessicata.

2. Abdominal Segment Counting

Dead leaf mantis females have 6 segments, where males will have 8 or 9 depending on which Deroplatys species they are. In this case, Deroplatys dessicata males have 8. You can see clearly the round, plump abdomen of the female, and the long, thin abdomen of the male. The wings extend past the abdomen in males but not in females.

Abdominal segments of a mature female Deroplatys dessicata.

Abdominal segments of a mature male Deroplatys dessicata.

3. Size Difference

Just like most other mantis, female dead leaf mantids are larger than males. You can see the head, arms, abdomen & legs are significantly more substantial on the female. Below you can see the size of both males and females relative to a penny, with the female on the left.

Mature female Deroplatys dessicata.

Mature male Deroplatys dessicata.

4. Dead Leaf Mantis Behaviour

Deroplatys sp. mantis tend to be a little reserved as nymphs, but grow into fierce adults. Females become huge and have an attitude to match, where males typically remain timid their whole lives. Overall, we absolutely recommend this species for their lovely attitudes and handleability. Deroplatys are a favourite amongst keepers, and even amongst us here at Bug Pets.

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