Archive for June 2014

Ghost Mantis Eating Fruit Flies

I’m totally infatuated with my new Phyllocrania paradoxa, or Ghost Mantis. I got two, but will probably look for at least two more soon. I believe they are both females, so I need a couple males as well. I’ve raised several generations of Chinese mantis in the past. They were cool insects, but the Ghosts step it up a notch with their active hunting behavior.

The Phyllocrania paradoxa native range is in Africa and Madagascar. Their bodies mimic dead leaves very effectively.

Phyllocrania paradoxa

Getting these, of course, has sparked even more interest, and a lot of browsing through pictures online. Here are some of my current favorites.

The Thistle Mantis, Blepharopsis mendica, from

thistle mantis

The Shield Mantis, Choeradodis rhomboidea. source: social media, original unknown.

Shield Mantis, Choeradodis rhomboidea

The Orchid Mantis, Hymenopus coronatus, found at


And the Violin Mantis, Gongylus gongylodes, from

violin mantis

I could keep going, but I’ll leave it at that for now. My collection will definitely be growing, but I’m going to take it slow for now.

June Update of the 40 Gallon Build

The tank has been growing in nicely. If the goal was to make vines happy, then it’s been a wild success! haha The vines have quickly become my favorites. The Solanum has been trimmed twice now. I put the trimmings back in the tank to root and fill in. 

Manuran's mystery vine Solanum Bromiliad

I added a new fern, Lemmaphyllum microphyllum. It hasn’t taken off, but the other fern is doing so well, I expect this one will too.

Lemmaphyllum microphyllum tropical fern moss

It’s no surprise that the Oak Leaf ficus is doing well. It’s mixing with live Sphagnum for a nice mixture of textures.

 Lemmaphyllum microphyllum Solanum tropical vine oak leaf fig

The Marcgravia rectiflora is the one plant that hasn’t taken off. Unless it’s creating a bunch of roots that I haven’t noticed, it hasn’t done anything except drop a couple leaves. I plan on moving it as soon as I figure out what it would like better. I’m thinking the upper right side of the tank might be a better location.

The Epipremnum pinnatum ‘Cebu Blue’ cutting lost a leaf as well, but immediately started growing new starts after the first one dropped. It should do well now that it’s acclimated.

In the middle of this shot is a small begonia that just started sprouting from a leaf cutting. That should provide some of the foliage cover that I’ve been wanting for the frogs to hide under if they want.

dart frog vivarium plants epipremnum

A few other things have started to sprout as well, all on their own. Whatever they are, I think they came in on the moss. The bright green one by the glass on the lower right hand side is probably the same type of begonia as the previous picture. There’s a small sprout by the frog’s foot that is completely unidentified at this point. The Mini Red Tree Peperomia cuttings have finally rooted and are starting to take off.

Dendtrobates tinctorius matecho fern moss begonia

The Peperomia prostrata is growing in a lot thicker than I expected, but I love the dark coloration it’s getting with the lights.

Dendrobates tinctorius matecho Peperomia prostrata

Riccia is covering the water feature almost completely now.

dart frog tank water feature riccia

This is one of the Solanum cuttings that I put back in the tank. It’s pinned down with a toothpick, but it looks like it’s rooted enough to be able to remove the toothpick now. I really like the moss growing here as well. 

tropical dart frog vine moss Manuran's mystery vine oak leaf ficus sphagnum

The Rhaphidophora is peeking out behind the Ficus villosa.

Rhaphidophora ficus villosa