Leaf Bug Facts: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Wendy McDougal

Wendy has taught high school Biology and has a master's degree in education.

The leaf bug is an insect that is so well-disguised, it is hard to tell it apart from a leaf. What are some characteristics of this bug, and where can it be found? Read on to learn more.

Leaf or Insect?

Have you ever spent time outside collecting bugs? It can be fun to snatch up a grasshopper, look under rocks for roly-poly bugs, and collect a jar of flashy fireflies. There is one type of bug that might be fun to catch - if you can find it.

It's the leaf bug, and it has some of the best camouflage in the animal kingdom. Join us as we take a closer look at one of the most well-hidden bugs around.

It is hard to tell the difference between the leaf bug and an actual leaf.
Leaf bug

Characteristics of the Leaf Bug

There are over 50 species of leaf bug, also known as a walking leaf. It is a type of insect, which means it has six legs and a hard outer shell. It is hardly any ordinary insect, however. Like its cousin the walking stick, this extraordinary bug looks much more like a plant than an insect. It wears an excellent disguise, from its color to its shape.

Leaf bugs are usually one to four inches in length. They have flattened leaf-shaped bodies and sometimes legs to match. To add to the uncanny similarities, they even have veins like true leaves. These camouflage experts even have coloration that helps them blend in with their exact surroundings.

Can you find the hidden leaf bug?
Leaf bug

For example, some leaf bugs are bright green in color, and they live in green leafy trees. Others are brown and spotted, like leaves that have fallen from the tree and are decomposing. Some are even blotchy, blending in with a tree trunk. Even the edges of the leaf bugs' bodies can be scalloped or jagged.

What Do Leaf Bugs Eat?

The leaf bug is truly all about leaves. It looks like a leaf, lives among leaves, and, yes, eats leaves. The leaf bug is an herbivore, eating only other plants. Leaves even give many of these bugs their coloring. Young leaf bugs, known as nymphs, are reddish in color. It is when they climb trees and begin eating leaves that they turn green.

Leaf bug nymphs preparing to feast on leaves
leaf bug

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