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Spiny leaf Insect

Extatosoma tiaratum


A dead leaf. Oh no! Its a stick insect (actually imitating a leaf) This is a fifth instar nymph female and the adult looks similar, fatter and still wingless. She has one more birthday to go and will then be an adult. They molt six times about once per month. If she does not meet a male, all eggs are female. Parthenogenesis occurs in many phasmid species.


Captive bred. Native to tropical eastern Australia


Also called Macleay's phasmid.

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MartinL 8 years ago

Thank you CarolSM
Thank you monaP

Mona Pirih
Mona Pirih 8 years ago


Carol Snow Milne
Carol Snow Milne 8 years ago

This is so amazing and fantastic!

MartinL 8 years ago

Thanks boss
Thanks ToshimiD
Thanks PurpleS
Even though it mimics a dead leaf, it is a stick insect, native to Australia but available as an exotic pet in most countries around the world.

Amazing !

ToshimiDowaki 8 years ago

Awesome series!

cool what is it?

MartinL 8 years ago

Thanks Gilma. Yes I am breeding these for school displays and childrens pets. They are popular as they are low maintenance and very educational. The other link you mentioned includes male specimens which develop wings during their final molt. Some people have female only lines as they are parthenogenic, producing no male offspring. Now there is a true feminist!

What a lovely creature!!
Captive bred? Are you breeding them? In your other spotting: I think I saw a few of them together!

MartinL 8 years ago

Thanks IreneBA

IreneBA 8 years ago

AMAZING creature!

MartinL 8 years ago

Thanks ReikoS
Thanks Yasser
Thanks LeoC
The males are quite different with thin bodies and long wings. The male, uniquely among other phasmids has five eyes, including three central simple eyes.

Leonardo Castro
Leonardo Castro 8 years ago


Yasser 8 years ago


RiekoS 8 years ago

Oh wow. This is amazing!

MartinL 8 years ago

Thanks Lori.Tas.
Thanks CindyB
Thanks LaurenZ
They are too tropical for Tasmanian winters or Victorian winters :( but they are OK indoors. They are parthenogenic and unpaired females produce viable female eggs.

LaurenZarate 8 years ago

Wonderful pictures! What an amazing little creature. Carrying the abdomen up over the body helps it even more to look like a dead leaf!

Very cool!

lori.tas 8 years ago

Awesome spot Martin. I've seen them in captivity, but never in the wild.

MartinL 8 years ago

Thanks Sergio. I am breeding these and have them all over the place. People sometimes say they have their head on backwards.

Sergio Monteiro
Sergio Monteiro 8 years ago

Fantastic, Martin, I love these mimetic wonders! Congrats!

Spotted by

Victoria, Australia

Spotted on Sep 2, 2013
Submitted on Sep 2, 2013

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