Physical characteristics: Adult males are 2.5 inches (6 centimeters) long, while the females are about 2.8 inches (7 centimeters). They use a special kind of camouflage called crypsis (KRIP-sis), with bodies that resemble not only the color of dead, dry leaves but also their shape and texture. Their bodies are light gray to dark brown with faint spots. The midsection is expanded to the sides and shaped like a leaf. Their middle and hind legs have leaflike expansions, giving them an even more leafy appearance.
Geographic range: This species is found in Southeast Asia.
Habitat: This species lives on land in undisturbed and second-growth rainforests.
Diet: They eat small insects and their relatives.
Dead-leaf mantids use a special kind of camouflage called crypsis. This makes their bodies resemble not only the color of dead, dry leaves but also their shape and texture. (©Art Wolfe/Photo Researchers, Inc. Reproduced by permission.)
Behavior and reproduction: This species lives in leaf litter and on shrubs. When threatened, they flash the bright colors on the insides of their front legs and expose the eyespots underneath their forewings, all in an effort to startle predators.
Females lay egg cases on twigs, which take about thirty to fifty days to hatch.
Dead-leaf mantids and people: This is a popular species among insect hobbyists. They are sometimes featured in insect zoos as examples of unusual coloring.
Conservation status: This species is not now endangered or threatened. However, the destruction of their habitat remains a threat to their widespread populations. ■
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