Malaysian Orchid Mantis

(Hymenopus coronatus)


Malaysian Orchid Mantis IUCN NOT EVALUATED (NE)


Facts about this animal

The orchid mantis is a praying mantis, which has got its name because it resembles the flower of an orchid with its four walking legs resembling flower petals. Most orchid mantises are white, but there is also a pink to purplish colour morph.

Females reach a total length of about 6 cm and have six abdominal segments. They are able to fly. They moult seven times until reaching adulthood, and their life span is about eight months. They are very aggressive and should be kept singly except for mating. Males are considerably smaller, just 2.5 to 3 cm long, and have eight abdominal segments. They moult just five times, and live for five to six months only. If ample food is provided they may be kept in groups. Males fly very well and mature far more quickly than females.

About two weeks after their last moult, females are ready to mate. Days or weeks after mating, they will lay their oothecae, i.e. clusters of eggs surrounded by a foam of protein, which are approximately 5 cm in length and are white in colour at first, but change to a light brown after a day or two. About 50 to 100 nymphs will hatch out within 5-6 weeks. The hatchlings will be red and black at first and will take on their white and pink colours after their first moult.

The diet of juveniles (nymphs) consists of small insects. Adults will eat anything they can catch, including a wide range of flying insects and small lizards. They obviously eat also little bits of banana.

Did you know?
that as 1st instar hatchlings, orchid mantises resemble ants with black bodies and red legs? Only after they have shed their skin one time (2nd instar), they become white. After a few more sheds, they will get their final colour, white or or pink, males with a brownish-purple "necklace", and females with a green necklace.


Name (Scientific) Hymenopus coronatus
Name (English) Malaysian Orchid Mantis
Name (French) Mante orchidée
Name (German) Orchideenmantis
Name (Spanish) Mantis orquidea
Local names Bahasa Indonesia: Belalang sentadu anggrek Malaysia
CITES Status Not listed
CMS Status Not listed



Photo Copyright by
Luc Viatour



Range South-East Asia
Habitat Tropical rain forest
Wild population No data
Zoo population Only four specimens reported to ISIS by one institution, which definietly does not reflect reality.

In the Zoo

Malaysian Orchid Mantis


How this animal should be transported

For air transport of adult individuals, Container Note 62, for caterpillars Container Note 63, of the IATA Live Animals Regulations should be followed.


Find this animal on ZooLex


Photo Copyright by
Luc Viatour

Why do zoos keep this animal

Zoos keep the orchid mantis for educational reasons because looks almost like the orchids it sits on. This ability to "hide in plain sight" helps the insect survive in its rainforest habitat. This kind of camouflage in which a species appears similar to its surroundings, is called mimicry.