Leaf Insect Phyllium philippinicum

Size

General Description
Leaf insects are very closely related to stick insects (they belong to the Order Phasmatodea) and, just as stick-insects camouflage themselves as twigs, the leaf insects are superbly camouflaged as a leaf (a process called crypsis).
An adult female Philippinicum will measure about 4 inches long, the males are much slender and ½ the length. It is documented that Philippinicum males are required for reproduction, but it is also reported that Philippinicum are parthenogenetic (self reproducing). We have both males and females.

Housing

We raise my Philippinicum in a screen cage 12” wide by 15” deep by 28” high, on the bottom of the cage we have Astroturf. We have oscillating fans in the day hours that gives airflow into the cage. We have fluorescent lights on the top of the cage on a 12hour on/off cycle, as well as light through the room windows. Glass or plastic housing can be used, but I like a breeze in the cage, and small nymphs can get suctioned onto glass or plastic and die when you spray the glass/plastic enclosure. The leaf insects need enough height in the cage to be able to hang down and molt out of their old skin without hitting anything, or miss-molts will occur.

Food

Both nymphs and adults eat blackberry, although they can also eat oak, rose, raspberry and Guava. We use a quart sized wide-mouth canning jar to place the blackberry and oak cuttings in. The cuttings last about 5 days before drying out. Rose cuttings from a florist will have pesticides that cannot be washed off.

Hydration

Spray the cage every other day, the leaf insects will drink from water droplets, but also receive hydration from the leaves they eat. Missing a day or 2 of spraying is not critical.

Ova

Eggs (ova) will be dropped throughout the screened enclosure. They are shaped like a mushroom, and are slightly lighter brown than their waste. Pick my ova out and put them into insect cups with coco fiber, and place the ova on top of the coco fiber. On top of the ova I place a thin later of sphagnum moss to assist the hatchlings with a foothold out of the ova. Ova hatch in about 5-8 months, depending on temperature.

Temperature
keep ova, nymphs, and adults at a target temperature of 73 degrees.
House the new hatchlings with the adults in the screen cage.

Air currents may encourage movement; in nature it would be dangerous for a leaf insect to move when there was no wind. There may also be a benefit to removing stagnant air. I use rotating fans behind my cages, on 12 hours during the day.

If they run out of food they begin to chew on each other! They also cannot be housed with Stick Insects, the Sticks will eat them even with food in the cage; mistaken identity…

The Philippinicum leaf insect is not “skittish,” and can be handled. With all stick and leaf insects, place your hand under the front, and nudge the back end with your other hand to allow them to climb onto you.

request a male or female phasmid (or any combination thereof) when you order, but please be aware that we cannot guarantee the sex. However, we can guarantee that someone very experienced with invertebrates will attempt to select the specific insect(s) you are requesting.

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