No I am not just a dead leaf, I am called a Dead Leaf Mantis, and when you see me you may think I am a pile of leaves. I am a very popular pet in the Asia countries. To be honest its hard to have me as a pet, since we have to have a habitat that is extremely humid places. We stand out among other species because of what we look like yet, and it helps us to camouflage by looking like a pile of leafy dead vegetation. We do have many varieties of us but one thing we all have in common, we do not live very long. If we are lucky we can live maybe for one year. We are born in the spring, and usually we do die in the fall. This may sound horrible but cannibalism is a huge factor of how long we live. For instance, when our males are done mating with our females, the females end up eating the male. Even our siblings, also like to eat each other.
We have a leafy exterior which allows us to hide from predators. You can usually find us hiding in leafy areas, or among dead leaves. We are a carnivore, and enjoying eating things that are alive. Our favorite food is other yummy insects. If we are lucky we will eat small lizards, frogs, and maybe even birds, all alive. We are usually brown but the shade of brown may vary with us. Our brown is not solid all over, but it has dark and light spots to mimic a dead leaf. But, on our back we have a huge shield making it look even more like a dead leaf.
Our females are about 9 cm long, and our males are a little smaller 7 or 8 cm. Males do not have a wide body like the females. Females have wings that reach up to their abdomen, but the males have wings that extend almost one centimeter past their abdomen. We get scared very easily, and will run franticly or we will Play Dead. We will lay motionless on the floor with our legs folded or stretched out. We will not move one bit even if you touch us, and we will show you our wings if we feel threatened. When we show our front wings they have a large black spot on them, and when we show our hind wings, that have black and white stripes on them. When are wings are raised these colors become very visible and will scare away any predators such as birds.
Sometimes you will see us in the zoo in small glass containers. Stop and watch us because many of you have said we are very interesting to watch. I just hope you can find us because we can hide and blend in with the vegetation do not forget. Hope to see your eyes on me one day.
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