These weird and wonderful looking insects are GIANT FLORIDA KATYDIDS, a type of bush cricket native to Florida and Cuba. They closely resemble leaves, as you can see from these pictures, so that they can camouflage themselves in the bushes and trees in which they live.
You can see from this close-up image below just how amazingly leaf-like their wings are down to the tiniest details of their pattern!
Like many species of insects they regularly clean their legs and antennae using their mouthparts, here you can see an adult female and a smaller nymph cleaning their back legs in this way:
Here is an adult male cleaning one of his antennae!
I personally believe that they have one of the most interesting faces in the insect world, I hope you agree!
The picture below is of an adult pair, the male being the smaller of the two individuals (on the lower left of the picture). If adult katydids are disturbed or feel threatened they can jump very well using their powerful back legs and then fly/glide to flee from danger, a very impressive sight indeed considering their large size!!
When you look at them directly from above you realise just how unusual their wing shape is, being a very thin structure when viewed in this way compared to either side!
Although this species is very much like a living green leaf there are many different species of katydids worldwide and some look quite different. I was lucky enough to see a number of species whilst exploring the rainforests of Costa Rica in December 2013, my favourite two were those below – one of which was a deep brown colour (more like a dead leaf in appearance) and the other bright green with beautifully patterned wings and a large horn on its head!!
The eggs (ova) of giant Florida katydids are truly amazing looking things and my females regularly attach them to the side of their mesh enclosure! In this cluster alone there are about 125 ova!
When you look at them up really close you can see that they are exquisitely beautiful, with each individual egg or ovum looking more like a shield than an egg!
I have bred this species many times over the years and once I was fortunate to be able to photograph one in the process of emerging from its egg.
As newly hatched nymphs they are extremely cute as you can see here! They are almost transparent and mainly a mixture of lilac, yellow and blue/green!
For LOTS more information and many more photographs of giant Florida katydids please click HERE!