Leaf insects

Many people are familiar with stick insects, indeed Indian stick insects have long been popular pets. Most of the animals in this group resemble sticks or leaves to avoid detection by predators. However, some species have other defences against being eaten, some of which you can see below.

These Thai stick insects (Parapachymorpha zomproi) are a fairly typical stick-like species.

Close up of the stick insect’s head; can you spot its eye?

Macleays spectres (Extatosoma tiaratum) are covered in spines.

Black beauty stick insects (Peruphasma schultei) are only found in a small area of Peru and can flash their bright red wings and spray an irritating liquid at predators.

Finally, this leaf insect (Phyllium spp.) obviously resembles a leaf and will even rock back and forth like a leaf blowing in the wind as they walk.

There are over 3,000 species of stick insect and although we have no native stick insects there are two species, originally from New Zealand, that now live wild in south west England and two more that have established themselves on the Isles of Scilly.

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