Wandering Violin Mantis: Essential Facts and Insights

folder_openInsecta, Mantodea
comment5 Comments

The Wandering Violin Mantis is a fascinating insect that you might want to learn more about. Known for their unique appearance, these insects are often a subject of interest for people who admire exotic creatures.

As you delve into the world of Wandering Violin Mantises, you’ll discover their distinctive features, such as their long, slender bodies that resemble the shape of a violin. Throughout this article, we’ll explore their behavior, habitat, and other intriguing aspects. So get ready to be amazed by this extraordinary insect and embark on an informative journey to understand the Wandering Violin Mantis better.


The Wandering Violin Mantis, also known as the Gongylus gongylodes or simply the Violin Mantis, is a unique species of mantis. This fascinating creature is well-known for its distinct appearance which resembles a violin. In this section, we will explore some of the features and characteristics of this magnificent insect.

Key Features

  • Belongs to the Gongylidae family
  • Originated in South Asia
  • Unusual body shape resembling a violin

The Wandering Violin Mantis can be found across South Asia, particularly in countries like India, Sri Lanka, and Indonesia. You might also notice their delicate bodies that are perfectly outfitted for camouflage in their natural environments.

Their long and slender bodies are one of the main reasons they have earned the name Violin Mantis. To further aid in their disguise, they often adopt a unique pose, tilting their body sideways and lifting their front legs. This allows them to mimic a twig or a branch swaying in the wind.

As you learn more about the Wandering Violin Mantis, you’ll come to appreciate its various features and characteristics. This incredible insect is not only a remarkable survivor but also a fascinating subject for entomologists. So next time you come across one of these remarkable creatures, take a moment to appreciate their intricate beauty and remarkable adaptations.

Origins and Habitat

The Wandering Violin Mantis, a fascinating insect, has a widespread habitat in several parts of Asia. You can find it in countries like India, particularly southern India, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Thailand, and Java.

Its natural habitat is diverse. You’ll see these mantises in forests, grasslands, and even gardens. These insects exhibit a perfect adaptation to their surroundings with their unique leaf-like appearance, making them masters of camouflage.

Here are some key features of the Wandering Violin Mantis:

  • Predominantly green or brown
  • Unique “violin” shaped body
  • Long, slender legs
  • Excellent mimics of leaves and twigs

Remember, it’s important to preserve their natural habitat, as these fascinating creatures play a vital role in controlling the insect population. So, next time you stumble upon a Wandering Violin Mantis, take a moment to appreciate their incredible beauty and unique adaptations.

Characteristics and Behaviour

The Wandering Violin Mantis is an incredibly unique insect that is well-known for its distinctive shape, which resembles a violin. Its long, slender body and roundish head make it stand out from other mantids. The color and shape of this species provide excellent camouflage, allowing it to blend seamlessly with its surroundings.

As a predatory insect, the Wandering Violin Mantis exhibits cannibalistic tendencies. It is known to consume other members of its own species, especially during the vulnerable nymph stages. Just like many other mantids, its front legs are raptorial, perfect for grasping and holding prey.

One of the fascinating aspects of the Wandering Violin Mantis is its deimatic display. When threatened, this mantis will display its large, intense-colored wings in an attempt to startle potential predators. This behavior is a defense mechanism used by many insects and animals to deter possible threats.

The name “mantis” is derived from Greek, meaning “prophet” or “diviner,” and the Wandering Violin Mantis is known scientifically as Gongylus gongylodes. This unique creature was first described by Carl Linnaeus, also known as the father of modern taxonomy, who is responsible for developing the Linnaean system of classification.

In summary, the Wandering Violin Mantis exhibits the following key features:

  • Violin-like shape
  • Excellent camouflage
  • Cannibalistic
  • Raptorial front legs
  • Deimatic display

Remember, when observing this fascinating insect, you’re witnessing a remarkable example of nature’s adaptability and survival strategies.

Maintaining a Wandering Violin Mantis as a Pet

Caring for a Wandering Violin Mantis as a pet can be a rewarding experience. Here are some essential aspects of their care.

Environmental Conditions

  • Temperature: Maintain a temperature range of 75-85°F.
  • Humidity: Keep the humidity level between 50-70%.

You can achieve this balance by using a hygrometer to monitor levels, misting the enclosure daily and adjusting the heat source accordingly.

Housing and Furnishings

Choose an enclosure with the following dimensions:

  • Height: At least 3 times the mantis’s body length
  • Width: 2 times the mantis’s body length

A net cage or glass enclosure with proper ventilation prevents overheating. Provide a substrate such as coco coir or peat moss to help maintain humidity.

Include branches and other furniture for your mantis to climb and explore. Adjust the height and position of the branches to create variety and avoid causing stress to the mantis.

Heat and Light

Utilize a heat lamp to manage enclosure temperature. Position the lamp on one side of the cage to create a temperature gradient, allowing your mantis to choose its preferred conditions. Make sure to monitor heat levels closely, as too much heat can be harmful.

When setting up your Wandering Violin Mantis habitat, remember these key points:

  • Monitor temperature and humidity levels regularly
  • Choose an appropriate enclosure with proper ventilation
  • Provide a suitable substrate and climbing structures
  • Use a heat lamp to maintain a comfortable environment

Feeding Habits

Wandering Violin Mantis is a fascinating insect with unique feeding habits. They primarily consume various types of insects, focusing on flying prey as their main source of food.

Some common examples of prey for the Wandering Violin Mantis are:

  • Flies: including fruit flies, house flies, and blue bottle flies
  • Moths: attracted to light sources and often captured by mantises
  • Crickets: a popular choice for captive mantises due to their size and availability
  • Cockroaches: another common prey, especially for larger mantises
  • Beetles: varying in size, some species are suitable for the Wandering Violin Mantis to feed on

The Wandering Violin Mantis is known for its exceptional ability to catch flying insects. When hunting, they use their fast reflexes and remarkable accuracy to snatch unsuspecting prey from midair. To help you better understand their preferences, here’s a comparison table of some flying prey they consume:

Flying Insect Availability Size Nutritional Value
Fruit Flies High Small Low
House Flies High Medium Medium
Blue Bottle Flies Moderate Medium High
Moths Moderate Medium-Large Medium

In captivity, it’s essential to provide your Wandering Violin Mantis with a varied diet of insects to mimic their natural feeding habits. Make sure to offer different bug species to ensure they receive adequate nutrition. Keep in mind that providing live insects is crucial, as these mantises are attracted to the movement of their prey and may not be interested in dead insects.

When feeding your Wandering Violin Mantis, remember to provide appropriately sized prey. Smaller mantises can choke on larger insects, while bigger mantises may not receive enough nutrition from smaller bugs. Regularly monitoring your mantis and adjusting the size and quantity of prey will help maintain their overall health and well-being.

Breeding and Lifespan

When breeding Wandering Violin Mantises, you’ll want to create a suitable environment. These insects are considered a communal species, meaning they can benefit from group housing. By providing a spacious enclosure with ample hiding spaces, you can foster a thriving community.

Wandering Violin Mantis females lay their eggs in structures called oothecae. After a successful mating process, the female produces a protective ootheca to ensure the health of her developing eggs. Over time, the nymphs emerge from the ootheca and begin their lives as tiny mantids.

The lifespan of a Wandering Violin Mantis varies depending on several factors, including their environment and nutrition. In optimal conditions, a well-fed individual can live up to 12 months.

Here are some essential features of breeding and caring for Wandering Violin Mantises:

  • Communal species: Can be housed together with other mantises
  • Group housing: Spacious enclosure with sufficient hiding spots to prevent cannibalism
  • Ootheca: Protective structure for eggs created by the female mantis
  • Lifespan: 12 months when provided with appropriate care

In summary, when breeding Wandering Violin Mantises, remember to offer a supportive environment where they can coexist with other mantises by providing a large enclosure and hiding areas. Pay attention to the ootheca during the breeding process and ensure proper nutrition for a potentially longer lifespan. With these considerations, you can successfully care for your Wandering Violin Mantis community.

Handling and Care Techniques

Taking proper care of a Wandering Violin Mantis involves various handling and cleaning techniques. For an ideal living environment, you will need a mesh enclosure with good ventilation. This maintains a healthy humidity level. In addition, cover the floor with paper towels or dried leaves to help absorb moisture. Check the relative humidity (RH) frequently, as your mantis thrives at RH levels around 60%.

Keep the enclosure clean by changing the paper towels or dried leaves regularly. When cleaning, gently remove your mantis from its enclosure and handle it with care. Avoid sudden movements or tightly grasping your mantis, as it can cause injury.

Water quality is important for your mantis. Offer spring water, distilled water, or water treated through reverse osmosis. Providing a shallow water dish will help your mantis stay hydrated.

Here’s a comparison table to help you choose the appropriate water source:

Water Type Pros Cons
Spring Water Natural minerals and nutrients May contain impurities
Distilled Water Pure and free from contaminants Lacks minerals and nutrients
Reverse Osmosis Removes impurities and pollutants May also remove beneficial minerals

In summary, you should provide a well-ventilated mesh enclosure and maintain proper humidity levels. Use appropriate substrates such as paper towel or dried leaves in the enclosure and clean them regularly. Choose the right water source for your mantis and handle it gently during cleaning routines. Your Wandering Violin Mantis will thrive in a clean and well-maintained environment.

Commonly Asked Questions

What is a Wandering Violin Mantis?

The Wandering Violin Mantis, also known as the Indian Rose Mantis or Ornate Mantis, belongs to the Empusidae family of mantis species. They are unique-looking insects with elongated bodies that resemble a violin, hence their name.

Are they suitable for beginners?

Yes, Wandering Violin Mantises are quite suitable for beginner hobbyists as they are relatively easy to care for and maintain.

What do they look like?

These mantises have thin, elongated bodies with distinct colors and patterns. They can be shades of green, brown, or a combination of the two, allowing them to blend in with their surroundings.

What do they eat?

Wandering Violin Mantises primarily feed on insects, including ants and other small prey. They are known for their remarkable hunting strategies, which include mimicking the appearance and movements of their prey.

How should I house a Wandering Violin Mantis?

A well-ventilated terrarium is suitable for housing a Wandering Violin Mantis. The enclosure should be at least three times the mantis’s body length in width and height and at least two times the body length in depth.

Some things to include in the terrarium:

  • Foliage for hiding and climbing
  • A substrate such as coco coir or peat moss
  • A heat source to maintain appropriate temperatures

Can they fly?

Adult Wandering Violin Mantises are capable of flight, although they are not strong fliers. Their wings are functional but more suited for short distances and gliding.

Are they related to phasmids?

No, Wandering Violin Mantises are not closely related to phasmids, also known as stick insects. While they both belong to the order Mantodea, they fall into different families, with Wandering Violin Mantises belonging to Empusidae and phasmids to Phasmatidae.

Reader Emails

Over the years, our website, whatsthatbug.com has received hundreds of letters and some interesting images asking us about these insects. Scroll down to have a look at some of them.

Letter 1 – Wandering Violin Mantis from India


need help in identification,
I am Dr.Shyam kumar from Dharwad in Karnataka, Today i saw this Gorgeous Mantis crossing the road in the Karnatak University campus, in Dharwad. and couldnt resist capturing it into my camera, and my curiosity to identify it has driven me to you, well after searching your site, this praying mantis is very similar to the Gongylus gonglylodes described in your website and which was reported from chennai in inda, and after reading the description i was thinking wether if this is a female of Gongylus gonglylodes, please help me out to clear my doubt, and write back to me. please find enclosed the pictures for your reference you guys are doing great work
Dr.V. Shyam kumar

Dear Dr. V.,
We agree that this is Gongylus gongylodes, though your spelling is incorrect. Commonly called the Wandering Violin Mantis, or sometimes Wondering Violin Mantis, it is found in Southern India and Sri Lanka. It is also called the Indian Rose Mantis. Your photos are positively stunning.

Comment: (12/19/2007) Wandering Violin Mantis from India
Hi Dan and Lisa,
I just wanted to say HOLY FREAKING WOW, MAN! Nice shot! And Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you both!
Darien, IL

Letter 2 – Wandering Violin Mantis from India


Walking leaf?
December 10, 2009
When we were travelling throughout South India (Hampi) in October this year, we found this big, clumsy, walking-leaf-look-a-like bug-thingy on our road.
Could you identify this bug for me?
Marlies van Dalen from the Netherlands
Hampi, South India

Wandering Violin Mantis
Wandering Violin Mantis

Hi Marlies,
This is a Wandering Violin Mantis, Gongylus gongylodes, and we have posted images of this amazing creature several times in the past, including these wonderful photos from almost exactly two years ago to the day.

Letter 3 – Wandering Violin Mantis from India


Subject: Is this a type of Mantis?
Location: Chennai
April 12, 2015 7:35 pm
Hello. I’m Nithin from Chennai, India. I found this insect yesterday while i was photographing few insects. This insect was very different because I couldn’t even notice it properly as it looked like a leaf. I tried googling this and i got a result which looked like a Ghost Mantis. And I clicked this picture in the outskirts of Chennai.
Signature: Nithin Daniel

Wandering Violin Mantis
Wandering Violin Mantis

Dear Nithin,
Your image is beautiful.  We believe this is a Wandering Violin Mantis or Indian Rose Mantis,
Gongylus gongylodes.  It appears to be an immature nymph.

Letter 4 – Wandering Violin Mantis from India


Subject: Dead Leaf mantis
Location: Mumbai, India
December 24, 2013 10:28 pm
I would have never seen this fellow if he didnt fly right into us!!
beautiful camouflage. this was the best photo i could click, he was too active for me to focus!
Signature: Sid

Wandering Violin Mantis
Wandering Violin Mantis

Hi Sid,
The quality of your photograph is much higher than most of the images we receive.  Despite the resemblance to dead leaves, this is actually a Wandering Violin Mantis,
 Gongylus gongylodes, and based on the information we have learned on the sexual dimorphism in this species on A Gardener’s Chronicle blog, she is a female.  Males have more feathery antennae and longer wings.

Letter 5 – Wandering Violin Mantis Nymph from India


Unusual mantis
Tue, Nov 4, 2008 at 5:11 AM
Sent: Monday, September 15, 2008 6:43 PM
I’d sent this mail with the attached pics on the 8th. I do realize that you must be getting swamped with mails reg. bugs, but would you pl. be kind enough to respond to this request for an id on the mantis ???
Santosh Mani

Hello WTB,
‘m Santosh Mani an organic farmer in the state of Tamilnadu in India. Yesterday (7/9/08) my wife found this rather strange looking wingless praying mantis on one of her potted plants.  I have never seen this type of mantis before, so I checked it out on Google & WTB was the only site that had something similar looking & that was a Brazilian Mantis. Since this was seen in a southern part of Tamilnadu & I couldn’t find anything else similar looking on other sites, could you by any chance give me an id for it???  Unfortunately if it is placed on a plant it practically disappears into the background, hence I had to let it run on my shirt to be able to get an identifiable picture. I do hope the pics are good enough for you to id the mantis.
Santosh Mani

Wandering Violin Mantis
Wandering Violin Mantis

Hi Santosh,
Thank you for your persistence in writing to us.  We believe this is a Wandering Violin Mantis nymph, Gongylus gongylodes, sometimes called an Indian Rose Mantis.  We received two amazing photos of an adult in December 2007 and we believe your photo is of an immature specimen.


  • Bugman

    Bugman aka Daniel Marlos has been identifying bugs since 1999. whatsthatbug.com is his passion project and it has helped millions of readers identify the bug that has been bugging them for over two decades. You can reach out to him through our Contact Page.

    View all posts
  • Piyushi Dhir

    Piyushi is a nature lover, blogger and traveler at heart. She lives in beautiful Canada with her family. Piyushi is an animal lover and loves to write about all creatures.

    View all posts
Tags: Wandering Violin Mantises

Related Posts

5 Comments. Leave new

  • Holy Beautiful Creature batman. And im deathly afraid of bugs

  • That is absolutely amazing!

  • Dear Daniel,

    Thanks for the prompt and accurate reply. the place where i work is filled with wonderful bugs and most of my free time is spent trying to capture them. Hope you dont mind me posting the photos over here! thanks again

  • Dear Daniel,

    Thanks for the prompt and accurate reply. the place where i work is filled with wonderful bugs and most of my free time is spent trying to capture them. Hope you dont mind me posting the photos over here! thanks again

    • Hi Sid,
      Your photos have been a wonderful addition to our archives, and most of our readership is from North America, so your Indian exotica is a treat, especially while much of the United States is in the throes of winter. Right now, it is a slower time for us, and when we get get busier, from May through October, we cannot guarantee a speedy response.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Fill out this field
Fill out this field
Please enter a valid email address.
You need to agree with the terms to proceed