Spiny Leaf Insect – Female


Spiny leaf insects (Extatostoma tiaratum) are leaf mimicking phasmids found in the sub tropic and tropical forests on the East coast of Australia. Adult females achieve a length of approximately 14 – 20 cm and can occur in a range of colour forms from green / white / light brown / orange brown or under the right conditions they can develop a combination of colours (called a ‘lichen’ form). The most common form looks and is coloured like a dead leaf. Adult female possess tiny wings and cannot fly. If disturbed or agitated they can produce a defensive spray that is not unpleasant to humans. Spiny leaf insects are a good beginner – intermediate stick insect as they are tolerant of a range of conditions and they feed on a variety of native plants including (but not limited to) Syzygium (lily pilly), Agonis (weeping myrtle) and Eucalyptus (gum). Females are known to be parthenogenetic. A female spiny leaf insect will take approximately 6 months to reach maturity and will live for between 1 to 2 years as an adult.

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