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Giant Malaysian leaf insects

This giant Malaysian leaf insect can blend into its food, which is perfect for hiding from predators while the insect eats. The insect’s adaptive coloration is called protective resemblance, and that includes leaf-like veins and brown spots. Get an up-close in this Deep Look video from KQED Science:

Like large leaves, the leaf insects usually stay very, very still to avoid attracting any predators’ attention. Moving can be the most critical mistake this insect can make. But if they must move, they move very slowly — or use a clever strategy.

“If these insects are caught in a breeze, they’ll even sway back and forth along with the surrounding foliage to enhance their disguise,” [CalAcademy‘s Patrick] Lee said.

But giant leaf insects don’t start off looking like fresh green leaves. Their appearance adapts over time to match their surroundings, so their camouflage is ever-evolving, like their living natural habitat.

young brown leaf insect
leaf insect
Watch more from Deep Look on this site.

Then watch more videos about camouflage, including Leaf Mimic Katydids, the Lychen Katydid’s camouflage, the twig-like Indian Walking Stick insect, and the Leaf-tailed Geckos of Madagascar.

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