Giant Rainforest Mantis
The giant rainforest mantis is one of Australia’s largest mantis species. They have a long, thin lime green body. On the inside of the front pair of legs they are red and black. The underside of the thorax is purple.
Extending from the top of the head is a pair of antenna. They have 6 legs in 3 pairs. The front pair of legs is lined with small spikes that are used to seize prey. On the head are 2 relatively large eyes. These have a pseudopupil which makes it appear as if the mantis is always looking at you.
Males and females both have wings and the size of these can be used to tell them apart. Males have wings that extend past the abdomen while in females they are shorter than the abdomen.
Their body can measure up to 70mm (2.8in) long.
Food is seized between the front pair of legs which have spikes to make it easier to hold.
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Australia is the native home of the giant rainforest mantis. Here they can be found throughout northern Queensland.
They make their home in coastal and rainforest areas. In some parts of their range they can be found in suburban gardens.
Giant rainforest mantis can start breeding within a week of their final molt when they attain adult size.
Males will carefully approach a female and attempt to begin mating. He must be careful as they will often cannibalize other mantis and the larger female may eat him before he can mate.
Once he begins mating it can last for several hours and in some instances even days.
Even if the male begins mating he may still be eaten by the female during the process. Once he has started though he is able to complete the mating even if she removes his head.
It is believed that part of the reason the female eats the male is to provide the necessary nutrition to develop her eggs and young.
Within 20-40 days of a successful mating the female will lay her egg sac which is called an ootheca. This is attached to a branch.
The eggs incubate for 40-60 days and after this as many as 400 hatchlings will emerge from the ootheca.
Young will molt their skin at regular intervals to grow. This is achieved by hanging upside down on a branch.
Hatchlings may eat their siblings.
Most of their time is spent hanging off of a branch or stick.
Predators and Threats
A range of predators feed on the giant rainforest mantis such as birds. Another threat is their own kind who will often cannibalize other mantis.
The giant rainforest mantis is one of Australia’s largest mantis species.
Copyright. The Animal Facts
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Ralph, A., 2020. Watch A Giant Rainforest Mantis Strike! – Daintree Discovery Centre. [online] Daintree Discovery Centre. Available at: <https://www.discoverthedaintree.com/watch-giant-rainforest-mantis-strike/> [Accessed 5 August 2020].
2020. Care Guide Giant Rainforest Mantid, Hierodula Majuscula. Kuranda: Minibeast Wildlife, p.1.
Henderson, A., Henderson, D. and Sinclair, J. (2012). Bugs alive. Melbourne: Museum Victoria.