Malaysian Dead Leaf Mantis
- The most frequently used common name for this marvel of Nature and evolution is the descriptive term of the Malaysian Dead Leaf Mantis. It’s also, however, sometimes referred to by the somewhat misleading term of the giant dead leaf mantis.
- Professional researchers, though, typically refer to it by its formal scientific name. That term, however, like many such technical names, remains somewhat hard to pronounce. That’s because professionals refer to the insect by the term Deroplatys desiccata.
- Regardless of what one chooses to call it, it’s a fascinating and captivating creature. The alternate common name, though, is slightly misleading. That, however, isn’t at all unusual, as common names frequently give a false impression of the species.
- Though larger than some of its kind, it’s by no means a giant among its roughly 1,800 known related species, overall. It does qualify as a giant, in a way, though. That’s because it attains a somewhat larger size than any other leaf mantis, specifically.
- The highly respected English entomologist, as well as archaeologist, John Obadiah Westwood, made the first recorded recognition of it as a separate and distinct species. This scientifically noteworthy achievement he accomplished in the year 1839.
- Fortunately, its population base appears to be both sizeable and stable. This situation further appears to hold true throughout the entirety of its native range. Unfortunately, it’s also become quite popular among those who keep insects in captivity.
- Due to these facts, the IUCN presently has no listing for the Malaysian Dead Leaf Mantis on its Red List. In the wild, it nevertheless faces several potential threats. Habitat loss poses an potential danger to it, along with the effects of climate change.
Malaysian Dead Leaf Mantis Physical Description
Like virtually all of its many relatives, the magnificent Malaysian Dead Leaf Mantis ranks as a master of camouflage. In its specific case, its own name gives an indication its approach. That’s due to the fact that, when it wishes, it closely resembles a dead, dry leaf.
Like many insects of all kinds, it also displays the physiological characteristic of sexual dimorphism. In its case, this trait manifests itself in terms of sheer physical size. The overall size difference between the two genders, however, remains comparatively minor.
More precisely, the females, again, like many of its relatives, attains a greater length than the male of the species. Mature females reach an average length of 3 – 3.1 in (7.5 – 8 cm). Males, meanwhile, grow to a body length that averages roughly 2.6 – 2.8 in (6.5 – 7 cm).
Otherwise, the two sexes displays virtually identical patterns of coloring, with only slight variations among individuals. Those patterns, though, include a very respectable range of colors. These run from nearly black, to shades of brown, to an orange-brown hue.
The highly extended thorax possesses an extremely flattened shape. It also manifests intricate patterns, like the veins on a leaf, on the upper surface of its wings. The underside, however, has a mainly black background, with a large eye-like spot on each wing.
- Kingdom: Animalia
- Phylum: Arthropoda
- Class: Insecta
- Order: Mantodea
- Family: Deroplatyidae
- Genus: Deroplatys
- Species: D. dessicata
Malaysian Dead Leaf Mantis Distribution, Habitat, and Ecology
The mesmerizing Malysian Dead Leaf Mantis inhabits a moderately expansive part of the world. This range consists of the region generally known as southeast Asia. More specifically, it’s known to live in Sumatra, the Philippines, Borneo, Indonesia, and Malaysia.
Within that range, though, it fortunately seems to be moderately adapable in terms of its habitat requirements. That’s due to the fact that specimens appear in regions of both tropical forest and scrubland. For now, no evidence that it ever lived elsewhere exists.
It’s also supremely adapted for the environment in which it lives. Its coloring, as well as its body shape and design, provides it with excellent natural camouflage. The insect even appears to sway in the breeze, mimicking the movements of a dried up leaf.
This learned behavioral pattern serves the amazing arthropod well in its typical habitat range, offering it a certain measure of protection from its own predators. Those include the usual species, such as tree climbing lizards, snakes, and birds, among others.
Like its numerous relatives, the Malaysian Dead Leaf Mantis evolved as a carnivore. Also like them, it’s a master hunter, preferring to hunt as an ambush predator. It feeds opportunistically, consuming virtually any prey of sufficient size, most especially moths.