These amazing insects are masters of mimicry, which protects them from predators.

We breed five species here, including the beautiful Linnaeus’ leaf insect and the Malaysian giant jungle nymph - one of the heaviest insects in the world!

There are over 3,000 species of stick and leaf insects, which come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Some have cylindrical stick-like bodies, whilst others are flat and shaped like leaves. Intricate details, such as ridges resembling life leaf veins or bark-like nodules, on their bodies make these insects look even more like the vegetation they live on. Even their eggs are camouflaged; often looking like plant seeds.

To keep up their disguise, stick and leaf insects rock either back and forth or side to side in repetitive movements when they’re walking; thereby mimicking real vegetation moving in the wind.

You can see our Malaysian jungle nymphs and Linnaeus’ leaf insects living next to our orangutans in the Realm of the Red Ape exhibit. Take some time to look for them; their exquisite camouflage can make them a little tricky to spot!

Read more

Interesting facts

Where they live: Mostly tropical and sub-tropical forests throughout the world, although some species live in temperate areas.

Habitat: Found in a variety of habitats including tropical forests dry forest and grasslands.

Size: Stick insect species vary greatly in length from 12-300mm. Species of leaf insect range from 28mm to 113mm

Threats: Introduction of rats as predators. Some species imported in great numbers for the pet trade