Wandering violin mantis, Gongylus gongylodes, are a beautiful species of empusid mantis hailing from southern India and Sri Lanka. G. Gongylodes grow to around 3 inches long, and are a favourite among experienced keepers. The wandering violin mantis is golden in colour, with uniquely intricate crests across its body and a diamond-shaped thoracic shield. Being an empusid, the wandering violin mantis comes from the same family as the cryptic mantis and devils flower mantis. This species requires a humid & warm environment to ensure prime health, along with a diet of aerial live food.
Gongylus gongylodes prefer flying prey such as blue/green bottle flies and waxworms. As nymphs, the wandering violin mantis will happily accept several D.hydeii fruit flies. As the mantis matures, you should offer wandering violin mantids live food around 1/3rd the size of the mantis’s body length. This species does not seem to respond well to robust, ground-dwelling prey such as roaches and mealworms.
Wandering violin mantis thrive in a habitat kept at around 30% relative humidity, which can be maintained via moisture-retaining substrates such as coco coir fibre. G. Gongylodes prefer to be kept warm at around 30c with aid from a heat mat attached to one side of the enclosure. Gongylus gongylodes need an enclosure at least 3x as tall as their entire body length to ensure that, when they need to molt, they have sufficient space to do so safely.
Wandering violin mantids can be easily sexed after reaching maturity. Male Gongylus gongylodes are smaller and thinner than females, with streamlined bodies adapted to flight and long, thick feathered antennae. Females are the opposite, being bulky with shorter antennae and robust, powerful raptorial arms.