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Working with nature

KEEPING YOUR LEAF INSECTS

Phyllium siccifolium

Keep the Leaf Stick insects in a tall container ideally with at least one complete mesh side to allow for good air flow. Provide pieces of the food plant which are almost the height of the cage to allow them to climb, this is essential for them to be able to moult successfully, this food will need to be replaced once it is eaten or it has dried out. Food is best placed in a small container of water with the top plugged with tissue to prevent accidental drowning.


TEMPERATURE The ideal range is 18° - 25°C.( The lower the temp. the slower the growth rate.) with a regular fine water spray in the cage, without making the cage wet as mould is a potential insect killer.


FOOD Feed with leaves from Bramble or Oak, Oak is the best food stuff as you don’t have the prickles to contend with and there are even a few evergreen Oaks available in the country like the Holm Oak Quercus ilex which is fine for the leaf insects and is available in the winter, but in winter you can always revert to bramble if you can’t locate an evergreen, but do cut off any edges that have darkened so as to leave a nice fresh edge. When changing the food lightly spray with water and shake off the excess to allow the insects to drink.


SUBSTRATE Any water retaining substrate can be used like, Coir (coconut husk), vermiculite or even kitchen towel. Keep this substrate slightly moist by spraying (very lightly) with water.


BREEDING Once adult males are slimmer than the  females and smaller but the females don’t have to be mated as they are parthenogenetic  and lay eggs onto the substrate where if left in place they will hatch in around 16 – 24 weeks if kept at 20˚C