The Leaf Insects-million year old camouflage
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The Leaf Insects-million year old camouflage

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Description
The family Phylliidae (often misspelled Phyllidae) contains the extant true leaf insects or walking leaves, which include some of the most remarkable leaf mimics in the entire animal kingdom. They occur from South Asia through Southeast Asia to Australia.

 

The Leaf Insects,family Phylliidae,amazing animals,weird creatures

 


They are usually green or brown but may reveal brightly coloured underwings when they fly. They have developed many unusual shapes to camouflage themselves to avoid detection by predators. The order Phasmatodea includes the longest insects in the world.
The female has large leathery forewings (tegmina) that lie edge to edge on the abdomen and resemble, in their vein pattern, the midrib and veins in a leaf. Females are flightless and so the hindwings have no function. The male has small tegmina and ample, non-leaflike, functional hindwings.
Marked variations in body features and colours occur in many species of phasmid. Horns, spines and lobes on the abdomen or the legs, may be more or less developed, or completely absent, in the same population. Some species have green and non-green forms. Many of these features may also vary geographically, together with overall size, relative wing length, and the colour of the hind wings, if present.
Leaf insect is very quiet during the day, but becomes active during the night. When they walk they will walk in a stop-go kind of way as if they are moved by the wind.



Habitat
They usually live in gum trees but are sometimes found in gardens on rose bushes or fruit trees. However because of their excellent camouflage, they are often overlooked.




Diet
This species of leaf insect eats blackberries, rose and oak leaves.



Breeding
Many female phasmids do not need to mate in order to produce fertile eggs. This form of reproduction is called parthenogenesis and all the eggs produced will hatch into females. If the females do mate with a male before producing eggs, the nymphs (babies) may be male or female.
Newly hatched young are reddish in colour and become green after feeding on leaves. Colour and form provide protection by allowing these insects to blend with their enviromental.

 

The Leaf Insects,family Phylliidae,amazing animals,weird creatures


Interesting facts
• Leaf insects use camouflage to take on the appearance of a leaf. They do this so accurately that predators often aren't able to distinguish them from real leaves.
• In some species the edge of the leaf insect's body even has the appearance of bite marks. To further confuse predators, when the leaf insect walks, it rocks back and forth, to mimic a real leaf being blown by the wind.
A 47 million year old fossil of Eophyllium messelensis, a prehistoric ancestor of Phylliidae, displays many of the same characteristics of modern leaf insects, indicating that this family has changed little over time.
• A baby spiny leaf insect is called a nymph.

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Sources :
http://australianmuseum.net.au/Leaf-and-Stick-Insects-Order-Phasmatodea
http://www.pnas.org/content/104/2/565.abstract
http://i.imgur.com/ggpmKn4.jpg
http://naturalhistory.ku.edu/category/tags/tapanti-insect-survey-2011
http://www.summitpost.org/leaf-insect/765273
https://www.facebook.com/PhylliumMonteithi
https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/
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