Thursday, 9 October 2014

A new species of Leaf Insect from Indonesian Papua.

Leaf Insects, Phylliidae, are small Insects related to Stick Insects, noted for their remarkable camouflage patterns, which resemble leaves. There are 53 described living species, 40 of which are placed in a single genus, Phyllium, and one known fossil, Eophyllium messelensis, from the 47 million year old Messel Shale in Germany, which appears most of the morphological characteristics seen in modern members of the group, suggesting strongly that it already lived a similar lifestyle.

In a paper published in the journal Zootaxa on 2 October 2014, Thomas van de Kamp of the Institute for Photon Science and SynchrotronRadiation at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology and the State Museum ofNatural History Karlsruhe and Frank Hennemann of Freinsheim in Germany, describe a new species of Leaf Insect from the mountains of Indonesian Papua.

The new species is named Phyllium riedeli, in honour of the entomologist and Weevil specialist Alexander Riedel. The species is named from a single female specimen collected in a Nothofagus (Southern Beech) forest over 2000 m above sea level. It is the smallest known member of the genus Phyllium, at 56.3 mm, and has a broad abdomen, tapering to a point. It is pale green in colour, with red markings.

Female specimen of Phyllium riedeli in (A) dorsal and (B) ventral views. Van de Kamp & Hennemann (2014).

The female laid four eggs after being captured. These were light brown in colour, slightly glossy and 5.6-5.9 mm in length. It was not possible to incubate any of the eggs.

Egg of Phyllium riedeli.(A) Lateral aspect; (B) dorsal aspect; (C) ventral aspect.c = opercular crown; da= dorsal appendage; mc = micropylar cup; mp = micropylar plate; op = operculum; pa = polar appendage; vml = ventromedian lamella. Van de Kamp & Hennemann (2014).

See also…

Stick Insects, Phasmida, are large insects noted for their camouflage abilities, frequently resembling sticks or leaves. They are related to Mantises, Cockroaches and Termites, and like them undergo hemimetabolous development; the larval forms resemble the...


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