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orchid mantis

Orchid Mantis Hymenopus coronatus

The Orchid Mantis is easily the most well-known and popular mantis pet in the world!  They are different colors at different ages.  As 1st instar hatchlings, they resemble ants with black bodies and red legs.  After they shed their skin one time (2nd instar), they become white.  After a few molts (sheds), males gradually gain a brownish-purple "necklace", while females' necklaces turn green.  Other than that, sexing Orchid Mantises is the same as for all mantids...females have six abdominal segments; males eight.

Most Orchid Mantises are white, but sometimes you'll get one with tints of pink.  The pinkness can be faint or dark, reaching almost a purplish color.  Some people believe that humidity is a factor, while others believe a particular color of background will induce color change.  Some people believe that they mantis has more control of it's color changing, just following a molt.  I'd tend to lean towards the humidity argument, but I've seen hundreds of orchid mantises and haven't really noticed any patterns.  The L5 (fifth larval instar) female nymph pictures below was white for several weeks following her last molt.  Suddenly, she began turning pink, while my others of similar age and kept in identical conditions, did not!

At maturity, males Orchid Mantises are about a third the length of females and maybe an eighth the mass.  Males fly well and mature far more quickly than females.  This makes the Orchid Mantis a little more challenging to breed, as you have to have males and females maturing at about the same time. 

They are called Orchid Mantises because they mimic orchid flowers.  Their back two sets of legs are elegantly lobed

They originate in Malaysia and other parts of Asia.