Heterochaeta strachani (Stick mantis)


This pointy-eyed mantis is one of the longer stick mantids. They have large catching arms and can reach out to catch prey with a longer distance. It is said that their eyes turn blood red under dim lights..


The males grow up to 10 cm long (about 4 inches) long while females grow a little bit bigger at 12 cm (4.8 inches long). Sexing these can be difficult at a young age, but should be relatively easy after the 3rd or 4th molt. 6 long segments can be counted on the female’s underbelly and 8 on the male’s. As adults, females have wings that cover only 3/4th of their abdomen while males have full wings that extend beyond the tip of the abdomen.


Keep these at 30 C (86 F) in the day time. An additional heating source may be used to achieve the desired temperature. At night, the temperature can be reduced to 20 C (68 F) to lengthen their lifespan. Keep their humidity maintained at around 70%.


Their cage should be well ventilated. They’re rather long for their size and will need some space to crawl around. The general rule for caging is 3x the mantis’ length for the height and 2x for the width and length dimensions. This species will spend most of its time hanging upside down so plenty of perches will be necessary. They are not an aggressive species and can be housed together with plenty of food.


This species eats tiny prey. Hatchlings will readily tackle small fruit flies and larger nymphs can be fed large fruit flies and eventually house flies and crickets. They are capable of hunting for themselves so no hand feeding is required. They are not prone to overfeeding so extra food in the tank can be left in there with no negative consequences. As for watering, mist nymphs lightly every other day and two to three times a week for adults.


A mantis will stop eating a few days prior to its molt. Mantises molt about every 1.5-2 weeks as babies and the time in between each molt increases as they get older…so their last molt into adulthood can sometimes take as long as 3 weeks. It takes about 8 molts for females and about 7 for males. During molting, it is vital that you do not disturb them and also make sure that the humidity is at a safe level…the suggested level is fine. The mantis will hang upside down from a branch or the screen lid and will sometimes shake or spasm violently. Then after a while, it worms out of its old skin and will hang out to dry. Once it’s dried, it will resume eating and being its normal self. Note that height is very important since they are quite long and need the extra space.


This species can be easy to breed due to its docile nature. After 2 weeks since their last molt, introduce the female into the male’s enclosure near him…if they were raised together, leave them to themselves and they will mate when the time is right for both sexes. A mature male will respond quickly. It could take hours before the male does anything though. He will jump on her back and grab her thorax. After a while of holding on (this could take hours), the male will bend his abdomen down to connect with hers and mating will commence. Once they are finished, the male will dismount and life will resume like before.


After two weeks or so, the females will be depositing her oothecae. The average number of oothecae lain is unsure. After 6-7 weeks of incubation at 30 C (86 F) and 70% humidity, the nymphs (not sure how many) will hatch out from each one. These can be reared together for easy feeding. Then they can be removed after a while if need be. These can be fed on fruit flies a day or two after hatching. Then continue to care for them as this care sheet suggests.

Additional Notes: I received 10 nymphs…I believe they’re L3 nymphs. They are about 1 inch long. One recently molted successfully to L4…it is now about 1.5 inches long.