Leaf Insects, Phylliidae

Phylliidae is a family of insects most commonly known as leaf insects or walking leaves, which can be found in Southeast Asia and South Asia to Australia. Although it is classified as a family, there is no general agreement on its classification, as many suggest that the family is actually a large taxon that should contain separate families of leaf insects. It is thought that this family has changed little over long periods of time, due to fossil evidence found of a forty-seven million year old leaf insect known as Eophyllium messelensis.

It is thought that the first person to study and document members of the Phylliidae family was Antonio Pigafetta, a scholar who sailed with Ferdinand Magellan. Leaf insects are known for their use of camouflage, which they use to protect themselves from predators. This family is so skilled at mimicking leaves that they even display fake bite markings on the tips of their bodies and move like leaves in the wind.

Image Caption: Leaf insect. Credit: Sandilya Theuerkauf/Wikipedia (CC BY-SA 2.5)