Leaf Insects

Phyllium Monteithi

[img src=http://www.insectopia.com.au/wp-content/flagallery/phyllium-monteithi/thumbs/thumbs_smphyllium_monteithi_female1.jpg]23.1k4Phylllium Monteithi
[img src=http://www.insectopia.com.au/wp-content/flagallery/phyllium-monteithi/thumbs/thumbs_smphyllium_monteithi_male1.jpg]22k5Phylllium Monteithi
[img src=http://www.insectopia.com.au/wp-content/flagallery/phyllium-monteithi/thumbs/thumbs_smphyllium_monteithi_eggs.jpg]21.5k3Phylllium Monteithi
[img src=http://www.insectopia.com.au/wp-content/flagallery/phyllium-monteithi/thumbs/thumbs_sm2012_07_08_black_l1.jpg]21.4k3Phylllium Monteithi
[img src=http://www.insectopia.com.au/wp-content/flagallery/phyllium-monteithi/thumbs/thumbs_smphyllium_monteithi_nymph_l1_green.jpg]21.1k5Phylllium Monteithi
[img src=http://www.insectopia.com.au/wp-content/flagallery/phyllium-monteithi/thumbs/thumbs_sm2012_07_12_l1_and_l2a.jpg]20.9k4Phylllium Monteithi
[img src=http://www.insectopia.com.au/wp-content/flagallery/phyllium-monteithi/thumbs/thumbs_sm2012_08_04_l3.jpg]20.6k3Phylllium Monteithi
[img src=http://www.insectopia.com.au/wp-content/flagallery/phyllium-monteithi/thumbs/thumbs_sm2012_09_26_male_ex_gossia_l4_logo.jpg]20.4k3Phylllium Monteithi
[img src=http://www.insectopia.com.au/wp-content/flagallery/phyllium-monteithi/thumbs/thumbs_sm2012_10_05_first_l5_phyllium_female_logo50.jpg]20.2k2Phylllium Monteithi
[img src=http://www.insectopia.com.au/wp-content/flagallery/phyllium-monteithi/thumbs/thumbs_sm2012_11_15_l6_female_logo.jpg]20.1k2Phylllium Monteithi
[img src=http://www.insectopia.com.au/wp-content/flagallery/phyllium-monteithi/thumbs/thumbs_sm2012_11_05_1st_l5_female_alogo.jpg]20k3Phylllium Monteithi

Australian (Montheith’s) Leaf-Insect

Phyllium monteithi is the only Phyllium species native to Australia and it is also unique to Australia. Its natural distribution is restricted to the Tropical rainforests of North Queensland along a 140km coastal strip and about 40km inland (approx. Mossman to Innisfail).

Sightings are very rare due to the exceptionally good camouflage of the species and its cryptic life style. Insectopia found the only living adult female to date although many have been scouring the rainforest for in excess of twenty years for this elusive creature. The species was known from males which fly to lights and from dead female specimens. All Australian Phyllium in captivity originate from this female and a male both of which were found in Kuranda, North Queensland in 2012.

Eggs laid by the female were raised by Insectopia, who after testing numerous food plants and conditions, established the conditions under which nymphs can be raised to adulthood.

The consecutive generation got genetically enriched by the influx of various males from the wild and is by now well established in the hobby.

Don’t worry if you have no or only little experience with phasmids as this species is astonishingly one of the rather easy to look after species.

Here is some additional information on the species:

  • Overall colour is bright green with small red markings along the body edges and several red markings on legs and body (amount varies with individual)
  • Leaf shaped body & legs
  • Fore-wings leathery and green and may have 2 or more red dots
  • Males have membranous hind-wings, which are absent in females
  • Females can‘t fly, have a broad abdomen, thick & short antennae, 75-76mm
  • Males can fly well, have slender body shape, long & feathery antennae, 56-64mm
  • Newly hatched nymphs (1st instar) are dark brown in colour (camouflaged on the ground and on bark, ant mimicry)
  • The hatchlings turn green after a few days (camouflaged amongst foliage). The colour change was previously believed to be caused by food uptake. This turned out to be a false assumption though as they turn green regardless of having eaten or not.
  • Males pass through 5 instars while females go through 6 larval stages before reaching maturity. Animals moult approximate every 4 weeks. After maturity females can live up to a further year. Males are not as long lived.

In scientific literature the species is identified as Phyllium (Phyllium) monteithi Brock & Hasenpusch, 2003