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13 Insects that Look Like Leaves (A to Z List + Pictures)

13 Insects that Look Like Leaves

Examples of insects that look like leaves include alderflies, assassin bugs, dead-leaf grasshopper, dead-leaf moths, and false katydid.

There are many insects that blend in with their surroundings, taking on the appearance of leaves or twigs. This can make them difficult to spot and often results in them going unnoticed by predators and prey alike.

While some insects use this camouflage to protect themselves, others use it to sneak up on their prey unawares. Here are just a few of the insects that masquerade as leaves to avoid being detected.

Examples of Insects that Look Like Leaves

1. Alderflies

Scientific NameSialidae
Type of AnimalInsect
Rangeslow-moving, detritus-littered waters, such as lakes and ponds

Alderflies are a type of Fly that is found in Europe, Asia, and North America. Adults grow to be about 12 mm in length and are brown or black in color. Their wings have a leaf-like appearance and are covered in small hairs.

These insects spend most of their time near streams and rivers where they feed on small insects. The larvae of the Alderfly are aquatic and have gills that allow them to breathe underwater.

Related Article: 31 Insects with Wings

2. Assassin Bugs

Assassin Bug
Scientific NameReduviidae
Type of AnimalInsect
Rangeall across the bottom two-thirds of the United States, and predominantly in Arizona, California, Texas, and New Mexico

Assassin bugs are predators that use their camouflage to help them sneak up on their prey. These bugs are typically brown or green and have long, thin bodies that resemble twigs or leaves.

When an unsuspecting victim comes within range, the assassin bug will strike, injecting its prey with poisonous saliva that paralyzes and kills it.

Related Article: 20 Insects with Long Tails

3. Dead-Leaf Grasshopper

Dead-leaf grasshopper
Scientific NameChorotypus gallinaceus
Type of AnimalInsect
RangeCosta Rica and Panama

The dead-leaf grasshopper is a type of insect that is found in the tropical forests of South and Southeast Asia. As its name suggests, this grasshopper has evolved to look like a dead leaf, complete with brown and yellow markings. This camouflage allows it to avoid being eaten by predators, as well as to sneak up on its prey.

Related Article: 25 Insects with Long Legs

4. Dead-Leaf Moth

Dead-leaf moth
Scientific NameKallima inachus
Type of AnimalInsect
RangeGuatemala down to the northern half of South America

The dead-leaf moth is a common example of an insect that uses leaf camouflage to protect itself. The moth’s wings are covered in patterns that resemble leaves, and when it rests on a tree branch, it looks just like another piece of foliage.

This camouflage helps the moth avoid being seen by predators, and it also allows the moth to approach its prey without being detected.

5. False Katydid

False Katydid
Scientific NamePhaneropterinae
Type of AnimalInsect
Rangefields and meadows across much of the United States

The false katydid is a leaf mimic that uses its resemblance to leaves to avoid being eaten by predators. The false katydid is found in tropical and subtropical areas of the world and can grow up to 2 inches in length.

The false katydid has a green body with brown markings that help it blend in with leaves. Its wings are also green and have leaf-like veins running through them. The false katydid uses its leaf-like appearance to hide from predators and ambush its prey.

6. Ghost Mantis

Ghost mantis
Scientific NameMantodea
Type of AnimalInsect
Rangewidely across Africa and in parts of South Europe

The ghost mantis is a type of praying mantis that is native to Africa. As its name suggests, this insect is well-camouflaged to look like a dead leaf, complete with brown and green mottling on its body. When prey comes close, the ghost mantis will strike, snatching it up with its powerful front legs.

7. Giant Leaf Insect

Giant leaf insect
Scientific NamePhyllium giganteum
Type of AnimalInsect
Rangewest Malaysian tropics

The giant leaf insect is a master of disguise, able to flawlessly mimic a dried-out leaf complete with veins and edges. Found in the tropical forests of Southeast Asia, these insects spend their days perched atop leaves, swaying back and forth in the breeze to better blend in.

When it comes to predators, the giant leaf insect has few to worry about. Thanks to their excellent camouflage, they often go undetected until it’s too late. The same can’t be said for their prey, however, which the leaf insects snatch up with lightning-fast precision.

8. Indian Oakleaf Butterfly

Indian oakleaf butterfly
Scientific NameKallima inachus
Type of AnimalInsect
RangeTropical Asia from India to Japa

This butterfly is found in woodlands throughout southern Asia. The adults have brown wings with white spots, which help them blend in with the dead leaves that often litter the forest floor.

The caterpillars are equally well-camouflaged, and both stages of the Indian oakleaf butterfly’s life cycle make use of their leafy appearance to avoid predators.

9. Katydid

Katydid
Scientific NameTettigoniidae
Type of AnimalInsect
Rangeon every continent except for Antarctica

The katydid is a type of grasshopper that is found in tropical and subtropical regions around the world. These insects are well known for their ability to blend in with their surroundings, taking on the appearance of leaves.

Katydids are proficient at camouflage and use it to avoid being eaten by predators. The insects also use their leaf-like appearance to sneak up on their prey, which is typically other insects.

10. Leaf-Footed Bug

Leaf-Footed Bug
Scientific NameCoreidae
Type of AnimalInsect
Rangetypically in aggregations located in protected areas, such as in woodpiles, barns or other buildings, palm fronds, citrus or juniper trees, under peeling bark, or in tree cracks

As its name suggests, the leaf-footed bug has appendages on its hind legs that resemble leaves. These extra “leaves” help the bug blend in with its surroundings and make it difficult for predators to spot.

The leaf-footed bug is found in North America and feeds on a variety of plants, including tomatoes, okra, and eggplants. While the bug does not typically cause significant damage to crops, it can become a nuisance to farmers if its population gets out of control.

11. Leafhoppers

Leafhopper
Scientific NameCicadellidae
Type of AnimalInsect
Rangeon all continents in nearly every habitat that supports vascular plant life, including deserts, grasslands, wetlands, and forests

Leafhoppers are small, sap-sucking insects that come in a wide variety of colors and patterns. Many of them have leaf-like shapes and markings on their bodies that help them blend in with the foliage around them.

While some leafhoppers are brightly colored, others are more subdued, making it difficult to spot them when they’re resting on a leaf.

12. Moss Mimic Stick Insect

Scientific NameTrychopeplus laciniatus
Type of AnimalInsect
RangeIn the deep cloud forests of Costa Rica

The moss mimic stick insect is a master of disguise. Found in the rainforests of southeast Asia, this insect looks so much like a piece of moss that it’s often overlooked entirely. The moss mimic stick insect feeds on leaves and other plants, using its camouflage to avoid being detected by predators.

13. The Leaf Insect

Giant leaf insect
Scientific NamePhylliidae
Type of AnimalInsect
Rangeislands in the Indian Ocean, across parts of mainland South Asia and Southeast Asia, to Papua New Guinea and Australia in the western Pacific

One of the most common leaf insects is the Phylliidae, which is found in tropical regions around the world. These insects are often green or brown and have flattened bodies that make them look just like leaves.

Leaf insects use their camouflage to avoid being eaten by predators such as birds. They also use it to ambush their prey, which is usually other insects.

Conclusion

Insects that use leaf camouflage are found in tropical and subtropical areas around the world. These insects use their appearance to avoid predators and ambush their prey. Leaf insects, false katydids, mantis, dead-leaf moths, flat-headed katydids, leaf katydids, and assassin bugs are all examples of insects that use leaf camouflage.

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