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Phyllocrania illudens

Size

Only a few of these rare and special mantids. Very similar to P. paradoxa, but slightly larger, also having larger crowns.  P. Paradoxa Ghost Mantis.

a small species of mantis from Africa remarkable for its leaf-like body. It is one of the three species in the genus Phyllocrania.
Description

Compared to many other praying mantises, the illudens mantis is a "medium size" growing to about 50 to 60 millimetres (2.0 to 2.5 in) long.

It comes in various brownish shades from very dark brown (almost black) to greenish gray. And I breed these that can be bright green

An individual's colors change between molts and are also dependent on light and humidity levels.

Phyllocrania illudens is camouflaged so as to appear as dead, dried-up leaf material. It has an elongated head, a flattened, extended prothorax (together referred to as its "elaborate headdress and shoulder shields" by one enthusiast), and leaf-like protrusions from its limbs. The mantis also has a forewing that looks like a desiccated leaf, and the "creases" in the wings are actually shadings of pigment.

P. illudens oothecae can hatch out up to three dozen young. 1st and 2nd instar nymphs of this species are dark colored and use ant mimicry as a defense.
Sexual Dimorphism

As with most or all species of mantis, Phyllocrania illudens is sexually dimorphic, with females being larger than males. Females have six abdominal segments. Males are shorter, narrower, and have eight-segmented abdomens. At the 5th instar and above males are thinner than females and have smaller appendages (lateral of the abdomen). At the 6th instar and above their crowns are different. When adult, males have longer and thicker antennae than females and have transparent wings, which are longer than the abdomen and are good flyers and are significant thinner than the females. At the 5th instar and above females are more compact than males and have bigger appendages. At the 6th instar and above the crown of females are as wide as their head and more line and smoother than the male`s crown. When adult, females are significantly more compact than the male with shorter antennae and the wings cover the abdomen.
Range

Phyllocrania illudens have a wide range across the African continent and its islands and can be found in Angola, Cameroon, Cape Province, Congo basin, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Malawi, Madagascar, Mozambique, Namibia, Somalia, South Africa, Sudan, Tanzania, Togo, Transvaal, Uganda and Zimbabwe. It is also found in South Europe.
Habitat

illudens Mantis inhabit dry areas, bushes, shrubbes, trees in the open.
In captivity

The illudens mantis is one of the most popular species of mantis in the mantis hobby because it looks good, is very easy to keep, it is relatively long-lived and are not very aggressive toward each other unlike many praying mantises so older nymphs can be kept together without problem and they should be separated around pre-sub-adult. Female illudens mantises can live up to eight months as adults while males live a much shorter life.

Temperature: Day 24 - 30 °C, night room temperature
Relative humidity: Day 60 - 70 %, night 80 - 90 %
Recommended min. size of terrarium WxDxH: 20 x 20 x 30 cm
Aggressive against each other: Middle
Level of difficulty: Easy
Biology
Molts until fully grown: Female ~8 (adult in L9), male ~6 (adult in L7)
Sexually mature after last molt: Female 3-4 weeks, male ~1 week
Duration of development inside the ootheca: ~6 weeks
Hatching rate: 20 to over 30 Nymphs possible
More
Feeding recommendation
L1: Small Fruit flies Drosophila melanogaster
L2: Small and Big fruit flies Drosophila hydei and Drosophila melanogaster
L3: Big fruit flies Drosophila hydei (sometimes even Greenbottle flies Lucilia sp.)
L4/L5: Greenbottle flies Lucilia sp.
L6 to L8: Greenbottle flies Lucilia sp. and Bluebottle flies Calliphora sp.
adult: Bluebottle flies Calliphora sp