Basic knowledge and information on how to properly take care and keep a leaf insect.

By Nyza Faustine Ho

Leaf insects have been successfully kept in captivity by entomologists, insect keepers, and enthusiasts. Since they are native to the Philippines, they can survive in captivity, so long as they are given proper food and shelter. This species can be kept in a vivarium with a small live guava tree inside. The guava
leaves will be the leaf insect’s food and shelter as it is also a place for it to hide when at rest.

The leaf insect may not seem like it but it is a voracious eater of leaves. They spend most of their time eating their favorite leaves while camouflaged in trees and plants.

Regular misting will also be needed, for leaf insects drink the droplets left on the leaves. They have huge appetites for their size and can consume plenty of leaves in a day.

Leaf insects can be kept together as long as there is enough food and moisture for everyone; otherwise, they will compete for food and water and may eat one another if there isn’t enough.

More leaf insects in a vivarium means that more cover will be necessary to avoid conflict among individuals. It is nice to observe them changing color to adapt to their surroundings when necessary.

They can also be handled safely as they don’t bite. You just have to take extra care when handling a leaf insect for they are a very delicate species. They are able to jump short distances and crawl quickly.

The leaf insect can also “dance.” This dancing movement is displayed when the leaf insect is threatened or when it knows that it has been found by a possible predator.

This story appeared in Animal Scene’s July 2017 issue.