Nature is fascinating, and some of Nature’s best work is illustrated by animals that have evolved and adapted to mimic leaves. Leaf mimics use an extraordinary type of camouflage to evade detection from predators or prey. These insects mimic leaves by using leaf like color patterns.
As usual I was browsing through my garden for insects when I noticed a small leaf bit on the stalk of the palm. It was unusual for a piece of leaf to be there, On having a closer look I found that it was a bug which was bright green in color with veins mimicking a leaf.
Their eyes are yellow and the head comes to point, giving this insect a torpedo shape and an aerodynamic structure. It is called the Torpedo bug (Siphanta acuta). The name Torpedo bug is believed to be derived from the nymphs ability to jump large distances.
My garden keeps springing up such lovely surprises every now and then, one of the reasons being avoiding pesticides as far as possible . Many insects like the Praying mantis , Palmfly , Giant redeye, Paper wasps , Jumping spiders etc have thrived here and entertained me. Hope to keep discovering !
Scientists have been trying to mimic leaves for a different reason – Energy , for more information click on the links below
An interesting link where Scientists have tried to mimic a leaf to improve the efficiency of solar panels
Another link where scientists are trying to duplicate one of nature’s greatest tricks, pulling energy out of thin air by mimicking leaves .
On a recent Nature Trail to the Arekere reserve forest we noticed an insect which was very well camouflaged on the bark of an Eucalyptus tree.
Planthoppers are named so because of their remarkable resemblance to leaves and other plants of their environment and from the fact that they often “hop” for quick transportation in a similar way to that of grasshoppers. However, planthoppers generally walk very slowly so as not to attract attention. Distributed worldwide, all members of this group are plant-feeders, though surprisingly few are considered pests.Planthoppers have their sucking mouth-parts to feed on host plants by sucking up the sap. They can be found resting on the main tree trunk or stems of their host plants, usually Eucalyptus or Acacia.
Female Planthopper looks brighter than males.
On heading further we noticed some Planthopper eggs covered with a white waxy substance characteristic of this species.
I had not seen anything like this before so had no clue about where its face was , but this insect looked like an interesting mask so went on to click it. With the help of a seasoned Naturalist and the link http://www.brisbaneinsects.com/brisbane_planthoppers/EurybrachyidBiology.htm. I learned that this was an Nymph of Eurybrachidae species.
Planthopper nymphs can be found on leaves, stems and tree trunks. They are usually dark brown in colour, becomes lighter-brown colour when grown. Most planthopper nymphs look very similar. The two long upwards pointing “tails” are the characteristic. This nymph belongs to the Eurybrachidae species.
The Green faced Gum Hopper found in Australia has the eye-pattern markings on their tail -end wing-tips. Those markings effectively making the insects appear to be something that is facing the opposite direction. A confused predator, when striking at the mimic, most likely comes up with nothing more than a piece of wing and the insects get a chance to escape. The mimicry is known as Self mimicry.
Some interesting links to the planthoppers camouflage
Please click on the link below
This picture was taken when I was trying to click a spider in its web .I found these insects moving in pairs hanging from the web and gliding around it without getting entangled.It appeared as if they were performing a synchronised dance .Later, I learned that these are Gall Midges (Cecidomyiidae).This trapeze act is apparently a widespread phenomenon in the Cecidomyiidae, especially in the subfamilies Porricondylinae and Cecidomyiinae. The behavior was first reported (published) in 1853 by Johannes Winnertz.
Spider webs are used as roosting places for a certain species of gall midge, family Cecidomyiidae. When most flies become tangled in spider webs and eventually a become meal for the spider, these tiny flies are able to select the non-sticky foundation threads of spider webs and safely suspend themselves from them. Predators of these flies would risk of being entangled in the spider web .
Really fascinating to know that such small insects have adapted themselves to thrive on something like spider web which is a death trap for so many other larger insects.