Officially the best leaf mimic in the mantis kingdom! The tropical dead leaf mantis lives on to fulfil it’s name
As a generalisation, I think it would be safe to say that the Deroplatys looks somewhat like a leaf. With a widened and curved thorax, and large wing case, the dead leaf mantis came camouflage perfectly in with leaf litter, and other decaying material. Each sub species grows to different lengths, the largest being the dessicata, which can reach 90mm, and the smallest being the truncata, at 80mm. As with all species, the females are typically larger than the males, usually lacking around 10mm in comparison. The dessicata is usually the lighter of the Deroplatys family, bearing light brown to orange markings, sometimes even red. The truncata are usually a lot darker, bearing mainly dark brown colouration, with a small, pink coloured ootheca.
Humidity and Temperature
Originating from South East Asia, the Deropltys requires conditions of the average tropical species. Temperatures around 30c are advisable, however anything hotter than this might be a little excessive. They also require a fairly high humidity, around 80%. This can be stimulated by simply spraying the tank once a day. Using substrate, such as coconut fibre, or soil, can hold humidity.
Housing and Enclosure
The Dead leaf mantis is prone to having problems shedding their skin. To reduce chances of a bad moult, large space should be provided. At least 3 times of the mantids length should bare the height of the enclosure, and the width should be enough for the mantis t be able to hunt for its prey. They do not usually hunt however, but sit and wait. Because of this, you will need to provide some pen spaces in the enclosure, making it easier to find prey at feeding times. Foliage must also be provided to give cover for the mantis, and to help stimulate its natural habitat.
Generally this species will take well to food. They are fairly ferocious eaters, and will not hesitate to eat large prey. Standard live food such as crickets, locusts, wax worms and mealworms are good, however, the diet must be varied. Flies, wasps, bees, moths, and any other flying insect found outside will be much appreciated, and will be naturally gut-loaded. By offering a varied diet, you will notice that each specimen will be much larger, and will produce a much larger, more fertile ootheca. Do be careful when offering prey, making sure that it will not be to large for the mantis to catch, or consume. There have been many accounts of live food eating the mantis, so any food which ash not been consumed within a day or so, should be removed.
Ootheca hatch up to 50 nymphs, although, a lot of the time less. Sometimes you might expect to get just 10 or 15 nymphs emerge. These will hatch after around 4 weeks, although it has been known for periods of as less as 3 weeks, and as much as 6 weeks. The best conditions for incubating the ootheca would be at around 28-32c, and 80% humidity. Again, provided by spraying once every day.
Although not one of the easiest species to keep, the Dead leaf mantis is one of the most talked about species in captivity. To get the full idea of what mantis camouflage is, I would definitely recommend introducing one of these into your collection!