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Crickets Grasshoppers and Katydids: Orthoptera - Dead Leaf Mimetica (mimetica Mortuifolia): Species Accounts

Animal Life ResourceInsects and SpidersCrickets Grasshoppers and Katydids: Orthoptera - Physical Characteristics, Habitat, Diet, Behavior And Reproduction, Orthopterans And People, Conservation Status - GEOGRAPHIC RANGE


Physical characteristics: Dead leaf mimeticas are excellent mimics of living and dead leaves. Their bodies and wings are green, brown, or a combination of both. The forewings resemble the shape of a leaf and have leaflike veins. They also have small notches cut out of them as if they were leaves that had been nibbled by another herbivorous insect. Hind wings are very small. The female's ovipositor is strongly curved, with a thick, sawlike tip.

Geographic range: They are found in Costa Rica and Panama.

Habitat: The dead leaf mimetica lives in lowlands and middle elevations, from low shrubs to high up in trees.

Diet: This species eats the leaves of various trees.

Remaining motionless in the trees, the dead leaf mimetica is nearly impossible to find during the day. It feeds on leaves at night. (Arthur V. Evans. Reproduced by permission.)

Behavior and reproduction: Remaining motionless in the trees, this species is impossible to find during the day. It feeds on leaves at night. The males make short, buzzing calls.

The strongly curved ovipositor of females is shaped to penetrate tissues of plant stems where eggs are laid. To lay eggs, the female bends abdomen down and forward until her ovipositor faces forward between her front legs. She then uses her legs to guide the ovipositor and insert it into plant tissue. Eggs are laid individually, left partially protruding from the plant to allow for easy exchange of oxygen for developing embryo.

Dead leaf mimeticas and people: This species is not known to impact humans or their activities.

Conservation status: This species is not now endangered or threatened. They are abundant but could easily be threatened by habitat destruction. ∎

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