When is a leaf not a leaf? When it’s got six legs and a face
Plenty of creatures use mimicry to conceal themselves from predators, but few are as wholly dedicated to the art of disguise as the giant Malaysian leaf insect (Phyllium giganteum). These clever copycats use protective resemblance to camouflage themselves as the leaves of the fruit plants they feast on, right down to their frayed, browning edges and – in the rare instances when a walk is necessary – employing a swaying gait to mimic the effect of a breeze. Part of KQED’s science documentary series Deep Look, this short video shows how these large insects deliver award-worthy method-acting performances, spending almost their entire lives in a single place doing their best fruit-leaf impression. You can read more about this video at KQED Science.
Video by KQED Science
Producer and Writer: Jenny Oh
Cinematographer: Josh Cassidy
Narrator and Writer: Lauren Sommer