Geographical Range Malaysia (in southeastern Asia)
Habitat Forests
Scientific Name Heteropteryx dilatata
Conservation Status Not listed by IUCN

Talk about specialized camouflage! Depending on the gender, these fascinating insects resemble either leaves OR twigs.

The body of a female Malaysian walkingstick (pictured at left) looks just like a green leaf, while the smaller male does a great impersonation of a brown twig. Both have evolved these clever body shapes to escape detection by predators. When they sit very still in a bush or tree, they look just like the plant they're sitting on. If by chance they're attacked by a predator, the insects can still defend themselves by kicking out with their sharp, spiny legs.

The Malaysian walkingstick is also known by the more exotic name "jungle nymph." It is the Asian cousin of the walkingsticks we find here in Missouri.