- Scientific Name: Hierdodula Majuscula
- Native in: Australian Rainforests
- Average Size as an Adult: females around 4 in (approx. 10cm), males 3.1 in (approx. 8cm)
- Diet: Carnivorous, possible prey includes insects such as fruit flies, moths, crickets, grasshoppers, roaches, etc.
- Lifespan: usually around 1 year
- Temperature: 71,6° F (approx. 22° C) – 86° F (approx. 30°C)
- Humidity: 60% – 80%
- Overall difficulty rating: Easy – Medium
The Hierodula Majuscula is one of the largest praying mantis species that were discovered so far. It is native to the northern tropical regions of Australia and is commonly referred to as the “Giant Rainforest Mantis”.
It is one of the more popular praying mantis species to keep, because it is rather robust, undemanding, easy to care for, and has a stunning appearance and size.
The Hierodula Majuscula is carnivorous, just like all praying mantis species. Young nymphs can be fed fruit flies (Drosophila) until the 3rd molt. Afterward, they can be fed with other insects such as crickets, maggots, locusts, roaches, grasshoppers, moths, etc.
They basically hunt and eat everything that moves around and is less than their own body size.
When the Hierodula Majuscula is in the wild, it would hunt butterflies and dragonflies, and other flying insects.
You can find a full list of what praying mantis eat in this article: https://animal-knowledge.com/what-does-a-praying-mantis-eat-a-full-list/
This praying mantis species lives in the damp tropical rainforests of Australia and is therefore used to high humidity. A glass enclosure with a mesh ceiling to allow ventilation is therefore the best option.
For young nymphs a normal glass jar with some damp kitchen paper on the ground, some twigs, and a mesh ceiling is sufficient but this species grows to an impressive size and will need a bigger terrarium at some point.
The Hierodula Majuscula is also rather aggressive towards other praying mantis and needs to be kept individually after the 3rd molt to avoid cannibalism.
The minimum size for an adult Hierodula Majuscula is 30 x 30 x 30cm. The height of the enclosure is particularly important because praying mantis dangle upside down to molt and need enough space to crawl out of the old skin. If they hit the ground or any decoration during the molting process, they might get stuck and die. This is why the height of the enclosure needs to be at least 2 to 3 times the length of the praying mantis.
If you are using a glass terrarium (which is perfect to maintain high humidity), you should use a mesh ceiling to allow proper ventilation to prevent stale air and mold. And the praying mantis can also use the ceiling to climb around.
The interior can be decorated with twigs, ferns, or wood. Fake plants are as good as real plants, even though real plants often look better.
You can also use cork walls on one or more sides of the terrarium to allow the praying mantis to climb up on the sides more easily.
The floor can be covered with soil, sand, gravel, cocoa peat, or damp kitchen paper.
The Hierodula Majuscula is a species that could also be kept outside of a terrarium on a plant in the living room, but only if the room temperature is at least 71,6° F (approx. 22° C) or warmer on average and only for adult praying mantis. Young nymphs need high humidity to be able to molt properly.
Only females can be kept outside of a cage because males tend to fly around.
You can find the full guide on how to care for a praying mantis here. This article includes many information on how to prep the cage: https://animal-knowledge.com/how-to-care-for-a-pet-praying-mantis-a-full-guide/
The ideal temperature lies between 71,6° F (approx. 22° C) and 86° F (approx. 30° C). The temperature may drop to 64,4° F (approx. 18° C) during the night. Keep in mind that even though this species is rather forgiving and won’t die if the temperature is too low for a while, this species lives in a hot and damp rainforest in the wild, and warm temperatures should therefore be provided to allow them to live a happy and healthy life.
The ideal humidity is between 60 and 80%. Especially the younger Hierodula Majuscula need high humidity to molt properly. If the old skin is too dry due to a dry environment, they might get stuck during the molting process.
The enclosure should be lightly misted on a daily basis so that praying mantis can drink water from droplets.
The Hierodula Majuscula is one of the largest praying mantis species that was discovered so far.
With females growing up to 4 in (approx. 10cm) and the males only being slightly smaller, they are impressive creatures that make great pets. The colors range from light to darker green and the inside of the fangs are bright red. The chest is colored violet. When the Hierodula Majuscula feels threatened it will display these colorful features to scare away potential predators.
With its triangular head and huge green gulping eyes on both sides, it has the typical alien-like appearance of a praying mantis.
After the last molt, both males and females develop wings, but only males can fly long distances.
The Hierodula Majuscula usually lives around a year, but in captivity, they can become older because there are usually no predators in the enclosure. Females usually live several months longer on average than males.
Once a praying mantis has molted for the last time, it is an adult, has wings, and is ready to mate.
Females are ready to mate approximately 4 weeks after the last molt, while males are ready after 2 to 3 weeks.
Once the females are ready, they will send out pheromones to attract the male. The males have long wings that can actually carry them over long distances, while the females’ wings are shorter and can only help them glide through the air, but not fly. The males will follow the females’ signals at night to avoid the majority of predators and have a sense organ on the thorax that helps them to hear bats at night. When they notice a bat approaching, they will start to fly in a zig-zag to confuse the bat and escape.
Once the male has found the female, it will be very careful in approaching her, because sexual cannibalism is not unusual for this species. That means that the male might end up as the female’s snack after, during, or even before mating if the female is very hungry.
Once the male has successfully jumped on the female’s back, he will hold on to her and connect their abdomen. The mating process can last around 3 hours. In some cases, the male stays on the female for a few more hours.
If you are planning to breed, you should let the male and female meet in a larger enclosure and feed the female as much as she can eat before the male is introduced to reduce the risk of cannibalism.
Two to four weeks after mating the female will lay her first ootheca (egg case). The ootheca will be attached to a twig or wood. The ootheca of a Hierodula Majuscula is light brown and 4 – 5 cm in size. The female can lay up to 5 oothecae throughout her lifetime. In some cases, she will lay even more, but often the oothecae will not contain many eggs anymore or won’t hatch at all. Every ootheca can contain up to 300 eggs and the eggs will hatch after 4 to 8 weeks. During this incubation period, the oothecae should be in a separate enclosure with temperatures around 80,6° F (approx. 27° C) and a rather high humidity level of 70% – 80%. Make sure to allow good ventilation and regularly clean the cage to avoid any mold. Mold on the ootheca will kill the eggs and nymphs inside.
Overall Difficulty Rating
The Hierodula Majuscula is a non-poisonous insect that is rather aggressive towards other members of the species. It is rather robust compared to other praying mantis species and can be considered beginner friendly. It is more tolerant of temperature and humidity than other praying mantis and is undemanding when it comes to diet.
The overall difficulty rating is easy – medium
Here is an article on whether praying mantis can be kept as pets: https://animal-knowledge.com/can-you-keep-praying-mantis-as-a-pet/
Here you can find the answer to your question if praying mantis make good pets: https://animal-knowledge.com/are-praying-mantis-good-pets/
Here is a list of the best beginner praying mantis species: https://animal-knowledge.com/what-are-good-beginner-praying-mantis-species/
Lisa is one of the two founders of Animal-Knowledge. She has been very interested in animals and insects from a very young age and has owned different kinds of pets such as snails, ants, fish, turtles, mice, rats, hamsters, rabbits, a dog, … you get the idea 🙂