Dead Leaf Mantis – Species Profile & Facts

If you’re a Mantis lover looking for that rare gem to brighten your terrarium, the Dead Leaf Mantis is the perfect contender. This is a gorgeous Mantis with a lot of personality and an unmistakable presence.

Today, we will discuss the main points of interest about the Dead Leaf Mantis, including feeding behavior, reproduction, habitat requirements, and much more. In short, everything you should know to build your Mantis a welcoming, warm, and humid home.

Just be warned, when talking about the Dead Leaf Mantis, with exquisite tastes come significant risks as well. This is because this Mantis of species is somewhat harder to maintain and breed compared to others.

Dead Leaf Mantis Natural Habitat

The Dead Leaf Mantis typically resides in the humid tropical forests of Southeast Asia, which includes wide areas in Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, or Sumatra.

You will normally find them on the ground, among the dead leaves laying around, on tree barks, or swinging on branches or vines. Their unique appearance will immediately make an impact, so long as you can distinguish them from the environment.

The Dead Leaf Mantis loves higher temperatures and a humid environment, which attracts various insects. Their naturally humid habitat makes for the ideal breeding ground, providing the Dead Leaf Mantis with plenty of hunting opportunities.

Dead Leaf Mantis Characteristics

With over 24,000 Mantids worldwide residing in the most exotic areas of the globe, the variety among this species of insects is naturally astonishing. Just like the name suggests, the Dead Leaf Mantis resembles a dead leaf more than anything. It comes in slightly various shades of brown, but they are all brown.

They also have a shield-like growth on their back, looking like a leaf stuck to them. It’s part of their camouflage, allowing them to blend in the environment and set their ambush more effectively. It also doesn’t hurt that this insect is huge, even by Mantid standards.

– Size & Growth

The Dead Leaf Mantis female outweighs and outgrows the male over their lifetime. The female can reach 3.5 inches in length, sometimes more, while the male will revolve around 2.5 to 3 inches. The female also tends to grow more aggressive, which is normal in the Mantid kingdom.

Growth-wise, the Dead Leaf Mantis doesn’t differ from other species very much. It still relies on molting to shed its old skin, growing proportionally with each molting process. I recommend keeping their habitat humid and warm during the molting to ease the process and prevent any complications along the way.

– Temperament

Just like any other Mantis species, this one enjoys its quiet place in the universe. It will find a comfortable and solid place to sit and begin the ambushing behavior immediately. Unfortunately, the Dead Leaf Mantis is not one to enjoy petting too much. It can get easily scared and either play dead or try to escape your massive, scary hand.

Don’t panic if you see your Mantis falling down with its legs curling. It’s just a million-years-old defense mechanism at play. The Mantis can also become aggressive, displaying its wings in all of their splendor. It usually does this in the wild, looking to intimidate potential predators, and it will undoubtedly do it with you at some point.

When that happens, just give it some room. And if you do need to clean its enclosure, gather dead insects, or bring in new prey, do it as subtly as possible not to ruffle its feathers. Otherwise, the Dead Leaf Mantis is pretty docile as it will spend its time chilling on a branch or vine all day. Enjoying the humidity.

– Defense

The Dead Leaf Mantis can become defensive against any perceived threats immediately. This is because of the Mantis’s natural predatorial behavior but also because it treasures its own life. It will attack or hunt anything that moves in its environment, so long as it’s not way bigger and more intimidating.

– Life Cycle

The female will usually lay at least 100 eggs during the reproduction period. These will hatch into almost as many nymphs that will quickly get to eat whatever they can catch. They need some serious feeding during their first several molting phases.

The Dead Leaf Mantis will molt 6-8 times before it reaches adulthood and achieve apex predator status in the insect world. The female will also usually outlive the male, so you should have that in mind before choosing your Mantis’s gender.

Dead Leaf Mantis Care

The Dead Leaf Mantis is an exotic insect with specific living requirements. Some of these include:

– Diet & Nutrition

Mantids rank as natural predators, ideal for countering various types of vermin roaming around and inside your home. You can feed it flies, crickets, cockroaches, locusts, and even small lizards or mice.

Most importantly, you should pay attention to overfeeding, since it can become an issue fast. One juicy meal every 3-4-5 days, depending on its size, should be enough to keep your Mantis healthy, energetic, and thriving.

– Housing

Unlike other Mantids, the Dead Leaf Mantis isn’t as aggressive towards its own kind. That’s not to say they will build families if you throw several Mantids in the same enclosure. Peaceful as they may be, cannibalism will eventually become an issue; it’s in their nature.

So, I would advise keeping one Mantis per terrarium or, if you want 2 or more, make sure you get yourself a larger, more diverse terrarium with a lot of vegetation and a rich environment. This will allow the Mantids to avoid each other’s company if possible.

– Environment

The ideal temperature should be in the 75-95 F range. You can drop it down to 70, but don’t go lower than that, at least during the day. Nighttime can drop the temperature down to 65, which is the absolute minimum for the Dead Leaf Mantis.

Humidity-wise, you should settle for about 50 to 80%, which means you might need to spray the habitat with water occasionally. The terrarium should be large enough to allow the Mantis some room for movement since small enclosed spaces can cause it to become stressed. At a minimum, the enclosure should be 3 times as high as the Mantis is long.

– Health Problems

There are several factors that can influence a Dead Leaf Mantis’s health. These include the ambient temperature, the humidity level, the amount of food it gets (too much or too little carry different issues), the stress it’s subjected to, etc. You should follow the instructions I’ve provided in this article to keep everything in the ideal parameters.

– Reproduction

The reproduction process is pretty much straightforward, typical for the Mantid world. The female needs to be fed before the act; otherwise, the risk of her attacking and eating the male will be very high.

You should also know that females are not always predisposed to mating. Sometimes they can turn aggressive, and it’s up to you to identify its disposition and remove the male from the enclosure.

The mating process can last several hours, and I recommend watching the whole thing if possible, even if with interruptions. You need to remove the male as soon as it’s over if you want it alive.


The Dead Leaf Mantis is pretty easy to care for with no unique requirements compared to other Mantids. It does require some extra care habitat-wise since temperature and humidity fluctuations can cause problems along the way. The same goes for overfeeding.

But if you’re ready to put in the work and prepare its living environment to the letter, the Dead Leaf Mantis will make a unique addition to your home. If you want to learn more about this species or have any questions on the topic, fill in the contact form or post a comment below.

Mantids   Updated: October 8, 2021
avatar Welcome to Insectic, a blog to learn about insects and bugs. I'm Richard, and I've created this website to share my experience, knowledge, and passion with others.

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