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Walking Leaves: Nature’s Leaf Impersonators


An international research team recently described seven previously unknown species of leaf insects, also known as walking leaves.


Facts for Prelims

Walking Leaves: Nature’s Leaf Impersonators

  • Walking Leaves, also known as leaf insects, are insects that closely resemble leaves in appearance.

Diverse Species :

  • More than 50 species of these flat, typically green insects belong to the order Phasmida or Phasmatodea.
  • They are renowned for their striking leaf-like mimicry.

Diet and Habitat

  • Walking Leaves primarily feed on plants and prefer densely vegetated areas.


  • Their natural habitat spans from Indian Ocean islands through parts of mainland South Asia and Southeast Asia to Papua New Guinea and Australia in the western Pacific.

Distinctive Features

  • Size: Typically measure between 28 to 100 mm (1.1 to 3.9 inches) in body length.
  • Sexual Dimorphism: Females are generally larger than males.
  • Varied Coloration: They are predominantly brown or green, with some exhibiting slight speckles or serrated leaf-like edges.

Mimicking Leaf Motion

  • Movement: These insects sway and rock, mimicking the motion of leaves swaying in the breeze.

Flight Capability

  • Female walking leaves lack the ability to fly.
  • Males possess well-developed hind wings, enabling them to fly short distances.

Regenerative Limbs

  • Remarkably, the arms and legs of walking leaves have regenerative capabilities.

Reproductive Process

  • Reproduction occurs sexually, with females laying eggs that often resemble seeds or plant structures, further enhancing their camouflage.

March 2024