Conehead Mantis (Empusa pennata)

If you’re an experienced bug keeper and fortunate enough to find a Conehead Mantis, you should consider it as a captivating option for a new pet.

This species of flower mantis is a popular pet choice due to its unique physical features and the wide range of behaviors they exhibit.

This Empusa pennata care guide will teach you all the basics for taking care of a Conehead Mantis, from housing them to breeding them.

Read on to learn more about this fascinating species and get the information you need to become a responsible mantis caretaker.

Common Name Conehead Mantis
Family Name Empusidae
Scientific Name Empusa pennata
Use Pets
Temperament Non-aggressive
Lifespan 12 Months
Diet Insectivore
Adult Size Up to 10 cm
Breeding Type Egg Layer
Care Level Moderate
Minimum Tank Size 5 Gallon
pH 6.5-7.0
Hardness Moderate
Temperature 70-75°F

What Are Conehead Mantis?

Empusa pennata is an insect belonging to the family Empusidae. It is native to much of the old world, ranging from Europe to India.

The common name of Conehead Mantis comes from the shape of the mantis’s head, which appears to have a conical shape.

These insects often display bold colors on their wings, which can range from brown and gray to bright green.

Conehead Mantids are active predators, known to catch and consume everything from small spiders to other insects.

What Does Conehead Mantis Look Like?

Empusa pennata is typically around 10 cm in length and can come in various shades of green, brown, and yellow depending on the region it is from.

On the underside of their abdomen, Conehead Mantises will have three segments in shades of bright yellow, orange, and red that stand out in stark contrast to the rest of their body. 

When threatened the Conehead Mantis can produce wings that resemble horns to intimidate potential predators.

Their long antennae are used to detect movement and direct their prey to them.

The front legs are long and covered in spines for defense.

The mantis has two large eyes that are excellent for sensing prey.

Males will have rounded bodies and females will have more elongated ones, and both have delicate-looking wings that cannot be used for long distant flight.

Benefits Of Using Conehead Mantis

Empusa pennata is an ideal choice of insect to use in vivariums.

They can provide a source of natural, organic pest control in your enclosure and act as a natural source of entertainment.

Not to mention, Conehead Mantis provides a unique addition to any enclosure aesthetic.

These insects are great climbers, and can easily move around the branches of the terrarium, creating an interesting dynamic as the enclosure is observed.

E. pennata is generally non-aggressive and is mostly only interested in hunting their prey, making them ideal companions in a micro-ecosystem.

Empusa pennata: A Complete Conehead Mantis Care Guide!

Conehead Mantis Facts

Empusa pennata is a species of mantis found across the world. They tend to be solitary and often feed on other insects in nature.

Conehead Mantis have short lifespans, but they are popular pets due to their unique appearance and the characteristics that make them easy to breed.

They are gentle, rarely bite, and are usually purchased as nymphs.


The Conehead Mantis is a species of mantis native to Europe.

They are typically found in warm climates such as Mediterranean regions, from Spain to Turkey, but can also occur in parts of the United Kingdom.

In the wild, they can be found in a variety of habitats such as grasslands, gardens, and orchards.

Their natural habitat is characterized by sparse vegetation which allows for plenty of hunting for food.


The diet of Empusa pennata in the wild consists mainly of flying insects such as flies, moths, and beetles.

This species are generalist and will also feed on other arthropods, such as spiders.

They use their binocular vision and long, slender antennae to detect and catch their prey.

Conehead mantids will usually feed on any insect that is small enough to fit into their raptorial front legs.

In the wild, the diet of the Conehead Mantis is balanced and supplemented by the presence of plant life and other sources of nutrition they can access in their primary habitats: deciduous woodlands, grasslands, and wetlands.

In addition to insects, they may consume other small invertebrates such as worms, slugs, and centipedes, as well as fruits, nectar, and pollen.


The temperament of Conehead Mantis around both humans and other animals is generally considered to be quite docile.

These mantids aren’t known to be aggressive and rarely bite humans, instead opting to show their defensive behavior by either swaying or raising their hind legs.

They can also be quite curious and have been known to investigate their surroundings – including humans.

As far as interaction with other animals goes, Empusa pennata rarely have any interest in other animals and can generally be kept with them without issue.

Of course, it is always good to ensure that the other animals in the same environment as the mantis are of a similar size and temperament in order to prevent any potential issues.


Empusa pennata has an average lifespan of almost a year.

However, the lifespan of each mantis varies greatly depending on the conditions of its environment.

Proper care and nutrition are key to extending their lifespan, as inadequate nutrition or housing may result in a shortened lifespan. 

The life cycle of a Conehead Mantis begins with the female laying her eggs, typically numbering dozens to a few hundred at a time.

Once the eggs hatch and enter the nymph stage, they will progress through 5 instar stages (molting and growing in size as they go) before reaching the adult stage.

Adults usually mate during the summer months, with the females laying their eggs just before winter.


The breeding process of Empusa pennata is fairly straightforward and simple.

They possess endogenous behavior, which means that they will breed naturally when a pair is present.

It’s often recommended to separate the two sexes until they are mature enough, you can identify that they have reached maturity when the adults become territorial and engage in “boxing,” a behavior in which they try to outmaneuver and intimidate each other. 

In order to mate, the female will enter a sideward posture, indicating that she is ready to mate.

Afterward, the male will use binding fibers located on his abdomens to secure the female in place while they mate.

The female is then capable of oviposition, or laying eggs, typically within 1-2 weeks of mating.

Once the eggs have been laid, the female will typically die shortly thereafter.

The eggs should be handled as little as possible in order to avoid mechanical damage and shock.

All eggs should be incubated properly and hatchlings should be slowly acclimatized to their surroundings.

Where To Find Conehead Mantis

Finding a Conehead Mantis in the wild can be difficult as they have a limited range and can only be found in warm climates.

If you live in one of these areas, you may be able to spot them in their natural environments.

If you’re looking to purchase a Conehead Mantis, you’ll want to look for a reputable source.

Pet stores that specialize in insects are the best bet, as they are accustomed to handling these types of creatures.

You should also investigate online stores that sell live insects, as long as they offer a good return policy and animal-friendly shipping practices.

Finally, you can also look for local breeders who keep mantis as they often sell their pets for a reasonable price.

Conehead Mantis Care

Caring for Empusa pennata requires an appropriate enclosure, a good diet, regulated temperature and humidity, and gentle handling.

Breeding Conehead Mantis requires an understanding of the mating process and catering to the specific needs of the species.

With proper care and attention, the praying mantis can make an incredibly fascinating and rewarding pet.

Tank Requirements

When it comes to selecting a tank for Empusa pennata, an enclosure with a secure lid and a tall, vertical structure can help to create the ideal enclosure.

As for terrarium substrate, cypress mulch, forest bark, and peat moss are useful for providing the humidity levels needed for the mantis.

The ideal temperature for a Conehead Mantis is between 70-75F, and the ideal humidity should be between 70-80%.

Terrarium lighting is not necessary, but it should remain a natural 12 hours of daylight/12 hours of darkness cycle.

For water, it is essential to maintain a pH of 6.5-7.0 and a hardness rating of 8-10 DH.

What Does Conehead Mantis Eat?

Feeding your Conehead Mantis can be a rewarding experience. A properly fed mantis will live a longer and healthier life.

Here are some tips for feeding Empusa pennata:

  • Feed them live insects such as houseflies, crickets, moths, and mealworms.
  • Provide enough food for it to eat in one or two sittings.
  • Don’t leave food in the enclosure overnight as this can attract mold and other pests.
  • Dust the food with calcium and vitamin D3 powder to keep your mantis healthy.
  • Avoid feeding your mantis too many plants or fruits.
  • Make sure all of the feeder insects you give your mantis are gut-loaded and free of toxins.
  • Feed your mantis twice a week to prevent obesity. 

By following these tips, you can make sure that your Conehead Mantis is getting all the nutrients it needs.

Enjoy the rewarding experience of watching your mantis grow and develop into an interesting pet to observe!

If you’re looking for a more detailed approach to feeding these critters, be sure to check out my ultimate DIY Praying Mantis food guide. I give a more in-depth explanation of the best foods and my favorite recipe.

What Do Mantises Eat? | Best Mantis Food & Feeding Guide!

Best Tankmates For Conehead Mantis

Empusa pennata are solitary animals and are generally not compatible with other tankmates.

It is possible, however, to keep Conehead Mantis with certain types of insects, as well as certain species of jumping spiders or terrarium snails.

Insects like grasshoppers, beetles, or mantids can make good tankmates for E. pennata.

It is vital to understand, however, that Conehead Mantis will see other animals in their enclosure as potential prey and could attack them.

Additionally, small millipedes can also be kept with Conehead Mantis (Empusa pennata).

Millipedes are available in a wide variety of colors, adding an interesting aesthetic to the enclosure.


The Conehead Mantis is an extraordinary species to keep as a pet.

Not only will you improve your pet’s knowledge and gain insight into complex behaviors, but you will also have surprising and rewarding experiences along the way.

With a bit of patience and the right information, this pet praying mantis will thrive in its new environment. Good luck and happy petting!

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes, conehead mantis is a rare species that is not often seen in the wild.

Conehead mantis typically grows to between 3-4 inches in length.

The life cycle of a conehead mantis includes four stages: egg, nymph, subadult, and adult, with each stage separated by a molt.

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