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Acromantis japonica (Japanese boxer mantis)

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Introduction

  • Scientific and common name: Acromantis japonica (Japanese boxer mantis)
  • Physical description/appearance: L1 nymphs are black and look like tiny ants. Their legs have bands of alternating color (black/brown on gray/tan). As they age they develop a light brown color overall, and the top of their thorax and wings turn green. On the sides of their wings a bright green stripe is visible. Adult females are about 1" (2.5 cm) in size, and adult males are about 3/4" (2 cm).
  • Native range: Southeast Asia - China, Japan, Korea, and Taiwan
  • Difficulty level: Beginner

Development

  • Rate of growth and factors involved: Even though they are a tropical species, room temperature of 72 F (22 C) degrees does not seem to slow their growth (5 months); however, higher temperatures will likely speed it up.
  • Longevity: 10-12 months for females and 7-8 months for males are average.
  • Molting observations: Like most mantids they prefer to molt from the lid of their enclosure.

Behavior/temperament

  • Degree of activity: Very active as nymphs love to run everywhere they can, but with adults they are content to hang from a stick or their enclosure lid. If handled will explore hands and arms.
  • Degree of aggression or timidity: Slightly timid species, likely due to their size.
  • Propensity to cannibalize: Unknown (Always kept separate after L1/L2)
  • Dynamics of threat display: Unknown. If they are startled or frightened, they will run or jump to escape.

Captive Environment

  • Temperature range and humidity levels: 72 to 85 F (22 to 30 C) temperatures, with 60-80% humidity (with the higher humidity for molting nymphs).
  • Type and size of enclosure(s) used: A plastic container that is 3" x 3" x 3" (7.5cm x 7.5cm x 7.5cm) in size is enough for any nymph or adult. I raised mine in Solo 9oz cups, a 32oz deli cup is however more ideal for size.
  • Substrate or lack thereof: I kept a 1/4" (0.6cm) to 1/2" (1.2cm) of coconut fiber, or sphagnum peat moss to help with humidity and for cleaning insets (springtails only, I find isopods are too large for this mantid species as they seem to be stressed out by them).
  • Cage furnishings, e.g. molting surfaces, perches, décor, plants, etc.: They prefer a stick/twig to perch on. Often they will flatten themselves out on it to hide, and to sleep on - typically on the backside.
  • Communal housing if applicable: Unknown (Always kept separate after L1/L2)

Feeding

  • Feeding response: They like to wait ambushing the prey, but will also actively stalk prey occasionally. Females will accept larger prey than males, even compared to their size.
  • Type and size of prey used and/or refused for various instars: Melanogaster fruit flies for the first few instars, followed by Hydei fruit flies. Adults will eat Blue or Green bottle flies, and crickets to about 1/2" (1.2cm) in size.
  • Quantity and frequency of feedings: I feed mine small amounts daily. As nymphs I fed them about 4-6 fruit flies. Adult females can eat 2 to 3 green/blue bottle flies daily, or a small cricket. Adult males typically eat every 2-3 days, although I try to feed them daily along with my females. I have not noticed this species to become overweight/obese from overeating, as my mantids once full will throw away their food.

Breeding

  • Sexing/sexual dimorphism (explanation of physical differences and/or adult sizes of the sexes): Females are larger than the males, typically 1/4" (0.6cm) in length, and have a larger girth than the males. The females also have a much rounder abdomen. Segment counting works as expected, with females having 5 (6) and males having 7 (8) segments (depends on if you count the last walking leg segment or not).
  • Time needed from last molt to copulation: 2 weeks.
  • Tips: give us your methodology: I make sure to feed my female all she can eat for several days before breeding. Using a small bamboo skewer, or small sticks or dowel rods, I help to move and position the mantids. I use a 1 quart or larger container for breeding, with plenty of fake ivy and flowers inside for the male to hide when done. I put the female inside on a large stick/branch and offer her a small cricket. Once she is eating I place the male behind her facing her.
  • Tips for inducing copulation and fecundity: If breeding is a issue increasing their breeding container temperature to about 80 F (27 C) makes them more willing to breed.
  • Tips for inducing female to lay oothecae: Provide extra sticks/twigs hot glued to their lids, and at least 1 to 2 running the vertical length as well. The females will lay the ooths usually near a fork of the stick, or at the base of a stick.

Oothecae

  • Physical description and average size: Brown in color (light to dark brown). Measures about 0.19" (5mm) wide, and can range in length from 1/2" (1.2cm) to nearly 1" (2.5cm).
  • Diapause if necessary: Is not needed and will simply kill the eggs - do not diapause.
  • Incubation time and temperature: About 30 days with temperatures of 75 F (24 C).
  • Observed number/s and range of hatching nymphs: 20 to 50 nymphs

Optional

  • Health Issues: infections or illnesses encountered: none.
  • Additional Observations: pertinent information which doesn't neatly fit anywhere else: As this is a boxer mantid, nymphs will wave their enlarged femur forearm at one another occasionally. Also both, adult females and adult males, will also participate in a mating dance with their forearms when their habitats are placed side by side.

Contributors: CosbyArt and dmina

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Edited by CosbyArt
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