Their shapes, from above, loosely resemble a violin. Look closer and they look like dried leaves. Watch longer, and you’ll notice that they sway like sticks moving in the wind. These are wandering violins (Gongylus gongylodes), a species of praying mantis.
Insect breeder and YouTuber Adrian Kozakiewicz of InsecthausTV shares a quiet three-minutes of observation with these two creatures.
Native to southern India and Sri Lanka, the wandering violin mantis requires temperatures between 85°F and 104°F, 95°F being ideal, and according to Panterra Pets, around 30% humidity. They also require lots of climbing sticks and room to molt. More from KeepingBugs.com:
“This praying mantis shows some of the best camouflage that is seen in the mantis world. They are quite large and come in a range of colours from light brown to almost black. Although rare, some come in green colour phases during one of its life stages…
“Wandering violin mantises are very calm and quiet species. They are typical sit and wait for prey to ambush, and don’t actively hunt for food… Wandering violin mantises are one of few mantises that are not highly cannibalistic, which means you can keep them in (small) groups safely all their lives.”
KeepingBugs.com has a guide about the insect’s specific care requirements.
Reminder: Keeping insects and other creatures as pets requires care and research to ensure that the animals can thrive in captivity, that they’re legal to keep where you live, and that they don’t escape into local ecosystems where they can cause ecological damage as an invasive species.
Related at Atlas Obscura: Entomologist Sammy Ramsey shares How to Choose the Pet Bug That’s Right for You.
Watch these related insect videos next:
• The Praying Mantis Leaps
• A praying mantis, beetles, and other insects take off in slow-motion
• The brightly-colored Achrioptera fallax stick insect
• Uropyia meticulodina: Amazing camouflage of a leaf-like moth