Giant Malaysian Leaf Insect

The giant Malaysian leaf insect is a leaf insect living in the rainforests of Malaysia. They are mostly female, but the first male specimen was discovered in 1994, proving their existence.

Scientific Classification

  • Class:Insecta
  • Order:Phasmatodea
  • Family:Phylliidae
  • Genus:Pulchriphyllium
  • Species:P. giganteum

Conservation Status

Not EvaluatedNE

Not Evaluated

Data DeficientDD

Data Deficient

Least ConcernLC

Least Concern

Near ThreatenedNT

Near Threatened





Critically EndangeredCR

Critically Endangered

Extinct in the wildEW

Extinct in the wild




It is the largest leaf insect in the world; males are 3.6 inches long, while females are larger at 4.8 inches. They are bright green, similar to the leaves they reside on. They lack hindwings meaning they are unable to fly.

Pulchriphyllium giganteum

Distribution: Malaysia, in the Taman Negara rainforest

Habitat: Trees with leaves similar to the insects’ bodies

Do they bite: No

Lifespan: Males: A few weeks; Females: Around a year

Predator: Birds

Behavior and Characteristics


Their diet consists of bramble and oak leaves.


When approached by a predator, they will remain still and pretend to be a leaf. As it is naturally docile and passive, the effectiveness of the camouflage increases.

Life Cycle

Little remains known about the breeding of these leaf insects. Females undergo parthenogenesis, laying unfertilized eggs that grow up to be female. However, they can also mate with males and give birth to fertilized eggs that grow to be male.

The eggs are buried underground.

1. Egg Stage

Eggs are brown or black, resembling seeds. They hatch after six months.

2. Nymph Stage

Initially, they are brown or red but become green after feeding on leaves. It takes seven months for the nymphs to mature and eight to become capable of reproducing.

Pet Care Sheet

These insects make fascinating pets, but can be a challenge to keep alive due to their fragile nature between molts. Also, never keep other insects with them as they can get consumed by accident or if food is scarce.

Enclosure: 16 inches high, 12 inches deep, and 12 inches wide

Temperature: Between 25 °C and 30 °C

Humidity: Make sure there is sufficient ventilation

Feeding: Same as wild specimens


Similar Insects

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *