Devil’s Flower Mantis – Diet, Description, Anatomy, Predatory Behavior

Idolomantis refers to a genus that includes praying mantises of the family Empusidae. It is represented by one species, Idolomantis Diabolica. Also known as the giant devil’s flower mantis, the devil’s flower mantis is likely to be the largest praying mantis and the one that mimics flowers.

Devil’s Flower Mantis Fact Sheet


The large mantis, the Devil’s flowers mantis, is part of the Empusidae. Males can grow up to 10 cm (3.9 in) while females can reach 13 cm (5.8 in) in height.


Devil’s flower mantis shares the same basic anatomical structure as most species of the Order Mantodea. However the morphology and floral mimicry of each species vary depending on its native habitat.


The Devil’s head contains three crucial components: the compound eyes, the antennae, as well as the mandibles.

A compound eye, made of thousands and individual photoreceptors cells, allows for excellent eyesight. The insect’s ability to perceive 180 degree is possible because of the arrangement and configuration of its photoreceptors.

I. diabolica is able to recognize prey and predators, without having to spoil its camouflage. The antennae are a pair of thin, long bristles that serve as the insect’s sensor.

The antennae project outwardly and are capable of detecting many environmental factors such as chemicals, motion, and odors. The male antennae are feather-like, and have a more complex structure than the females. This allows them detect the pheromones released from the females to track down the females. These pheromones let males know that the females will soon reproduce. The mandibles may be used to “tear and puncture or grind” food.


The insect’s largest organ is the thorax. It is composed, like all insects, of three segments: The prothorax; the mesothorax; and the metathorax. Each section contains one pair each of legs. The wings, however, are located only on the mesothoracic-metathoracic segments.


The abdomen is home to various organ systems, including reproductive organs and respiratory organs.

Where Do Devil’s Flower Mantis Live?

It is found in Ethiopia (Kenya), Malawi, Somalia and Tanzania. Its threat display is spectacularly colored with black, red, blue, purple and blue.

Defensive Behavior of a Devil

Devil’s flower mantis, when faced with predators, initiates a deimatic show in an attempt “to scare off and temporarily distract a predator”. Its front legs are raised, especially the femora. This exposes the conspicuous patterns at the bottom of its thorax, and abdomen. The wings are also adorned with a variety of vibrant colors. An additional tactic used by devil’s flower mantis to confuse predators was discovered through observation in its captive environment. It would shift its wings from left to right.

Predatory Behavior

Devil’s flowers mantis remains motionless when prey is present. Its purpose is to seduce an insect into its striking zones. Idolomantis debolicica uses the tibiae and legs of its legs in this zone to grasp and hold on to the prey. The mandibles become formidable weapons to decapitate and consume the prey. I. diabolica eats exclusively airborne insects. This includes moths, butterflies, moths, and beetles.


Mature females exhibit dimorphic features to attract males before they reproduce. To attract a male, females may lower the tip of their abdomens and raise them slightly. However, sexual cannibalism still occurs in pairs of I. diabolica who are held captive.

Their precautious nature can lead to aggressive behavior in intrusive environments. One example is when a female becomes prey during the process of copulating. This often ends in the male devouring his head.


  • A female can deposit up to 50 eggs into an ootheca.
  • This varies depending on the temperature and humidity. It is common for fifty days to pass between egg-laying, hatching and harvesting.
  • The nymphs consume small insects such houseflies or fruit flies once they have hatched. Males are born after seven instars of ecdysis.
  • Females become mature after eight. I. diabolica can live for approximately 12 months depending on where it lives.


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