Gray’s Leaf Insect Facts
- This intriguing product of natural evolution most frequently goes by the somewhat informative common name of the Gray’s Leaf Insect. It also has another, less frequently used common name. That’s the equally informative term of the Java Leaf Insect.
- Professional entomologists, though, typically refer to the species by its formal scientific name. That, however, is the tongue-twisting term of Pulchriphyllium bioculatum. Regardless of the term used to refer to it, the insect remains a fascinating one.
- The first formal recognition of the arthropod as a separate and distinct species, furthermore, occurred in the year 1832. This took place as a result of the work of George Robert Gray, the highly respected English zoologist, and part of the British Museum.
- This particular small but nonetheless impressive animal also represented a personal milestone for the eminent researcher. That’s because the creature also represented the first phasmid he discovered. He later went on to discover many more, however.
- For the moment, the IUCN has no listing for the Gray’s Leaf Insect on its Red List of Threatened Species. That’s due to the fact that, for the moment, at least, it appears to be maintaining a population base that’s both sizeable and sufficient within its range.
- The amazing insect must nevertheless be considered to be facing at least some threats to its continued existence. Given the nature and location of its range, habitat loss poses a potential danger. Its greatest threat, however, likely consists of climate change.
Gray’s Leaf Insect Physical Description
It’s worth noting that, while the Gray’s Leaf Insect does impress those who encounter it, the creature does not do so due to sheer size. That’s due to the fact that it also ranks as a moderately-sized member of its Order. It’s nonetheless a respectable specimen.
Like many insects, it also displays a moderate degree of the physiological characteristic of sexual dimorphism. In its specific case, though, this trait mainfests itself in terms of simple physical size. Specifically, females attain a shorter length, though, thicker body.
More precisely, males attain an average overall length of roughly 2.6 – 3.7 in (6.6 – 9.4 cm). The shorter females, though, only grow to an average length of 1.8 – 2.7 in (4.6 – 6.9 cm). Females of the species also develop an abdomen that remains narrower at the base.
Both genders, however, manifest the same general color pattern. Both the body and the legs display a primarily green background, though shades vary. Random markings consisting of such hues as orange and yellow also manifest, varying between individuals of either gender.
Females of the Gray’s Leaf Insect further distinguish themselves from their male counterparts in yet another manner. Males typically possess significantly longer antennae than the females. Males, furthermore, have fully functioning wings, while females do not.
- Kingdom: Animalia
- Phylum: Arthropoda
- Class: Insecta
- Order: Phasmatodea
- Family: Phylliidae
- Genus: Pulchriphyllium
- Species: P. bioculatum
Gray’s Leaf Insect Distribution, Habitat, and Ecology
Fortunately, both for the Gray’s Leaf Insect, and those of us who appreciate Nature, the marvelous insect appears to inhabit a relatively large swathe of the globe. That’s due to the fact that its known habitat range covers a quite respectable portion of southeastern Asia.
It does, however, also appear in several other regions of the world. These consist of the Seychelles, Mauritius, and Madagascar. In its main area, though, it seems widespread throughout such countries as India, Sri Lanka, China, Borneo, Java, and Malaysia.
In whatever region one encounters it, though, it displays a strong preference in terms of its choice of habitat. The vast majority of individuals live in tropical regions. There, the arthropod mostly makes its home in sections of the locally abundant tropical rainforests.
It evolved as highly dependant on specific environmental conditions. These include warmer temperatures, between 75 – 82 F24 – 28 C). The species further requires moderately high humdity levels, not surprisingly, given the region in which the insect evolved.
Like most of its relatives, the Gray’s Leaf Insect further evolved as a strict herbivore. Wherever it lives, it adapts to the locally prevalent vegetation. It does, however, display certain strong preferences in its diet. These include such foods as guava and mango.
During breeding season, the females lays approximately 100 eggs. She lays these, however, over a period of several days. She also lays eggs with or without fertilization, in a process called parthenogenesis. Those laid without fertilization invariably produce females.