Javanese Leaf Insect
Which is the insect and which is the leaf? Blending perfectly with its environment, a green Javanese leaf insect creeps across a leaf. In the wild, leaf insects live in forests on islands in the South Pacific and in Africa, Sri Lanka, and parts of northern Australia.
Description. Up to 80 mm long. Flattened body, with leaf-like flaps on the legs. Almost entirely green in colour, apart from vein-like markings on the forewings and scattered brownish marks elsewhere. The whole insect looks just like a leaf.
Biology. Lives on vegetation and well camouflaged against the leaves on which it feeds.
Tropical rainforests in Southeast Asia. Java. Seychelles.
Variety of plants. Bramble.
Birds, amphibians, and reptiles.
- Often they are known as Phasmids (stick insects), which includes walking sticks and leaf insects.
- The females (7-8 cm) are generally larger than the males (4 - 6 cm). Females are usually broad and flat, and the males are very slender.
- Java leaf insects will be greenish or brownish as adults. Before then, they go through a variety of shades of green, yellow, and brown.
- Their camouflage is outstanding and they mimic leaves so perfectly that other leaf insects may take a bite out of them.
- They even "sway" in the wind like a leaf.
- Usually, Java leaf males can fly, the females can't.
- Phasmids have a life span of 1 -2 years, and the Java leaf male averages less than that.
- Java leaf insects grow new skin under their outer skin. Then they "molt", which means the new skin breaks through the old skin. They may do this 5 - 6 times in a lifetime.