Caresheet for Phyllium giganteum

PSG 72

Females

Lenght 11cm Width 6cm, largest known leaf insect

Very wide fore arms. Color is green with brown edges, some variations in brown pattern.

The adult female has cover wings, but is not capable of flying, the head is large (9-10mm) with two short (5mm) antennas

Males

Lenght 8cm width 3.5cm

Antennas 2.5cm

Long well developed wings, pretty good flyer.

The newly moulted adult males are green but over time they change to dark yellow.

Males are very rare in nature as well as in capture and existence not proved and described (By Paul Brock) until 1994.

Male nymphs can be spotted in the last instars by their brown legs, as subadults the antennas and bodyshape are easily recognized as well.

Nymphs

The newly hatched nymphs are dark orange brown and at a lenght of 18-21mm and a width of 8-9mm it is one of the largest phyllium nymphs

Newly layed eggs are dark brown, almost black. Over time they will turn lighter and more grey-brown. Lenght is 8-9mm and width is 4.5mm and the ecky shape and hole pattern makes the eggs quite easy to spot and collect in the vivarium.

Hatching time is five and a half to six months, but don't give up before seven to eight months as temperature humidity and light may influence on the hatching time.

Food Plants

Bramble, Oak, Rose, Guava

In winter time even bramble can be hard to find, but Oak and Guava can be grown from seeds as a backup

Behaviour

In capture only parthonogenetic reproduction is known as males are very rare.

Giganteum do not have any known defence behavior, other than their commuflage, and playing dead.

After 4-5 weeks the adult female starts laying eggs, the eggs will be dropped with a whip movement in the bottom of the vivarium and she will lay one per day over the next three months and then stop. After ended egg laying she will live one to two months.

Developement

The incubation time is 5.5 to nine 8 months @22-24C.

During the first weeks the L1 nymphs will turn green and after a month they will moult for the first time.

Depending on temperature and available food moulting will take place once a month until reaching adult after aproxemately six moults.

The adult giganteum will live for five to seven months.

Breeding Notes

Make sure that the cage have a hight of at least three to four times the lenght of the nymphs, to make sure that the nymphs can hang freely when moulting.

The temperature must exceed 25C during day (25-29C), but can be 18-21C at night.

Humidity is essential to succesfull moulting, higher is better, but be carefull of condensing water the nymphs can easily drown.

Spraying water is in my experience a good idea, weather it is nessesary depends of the food and ambient temperature and moisture, I spray once or twice a day, spraying more at the food plants and less on the nymphs. If the nymphs imideatly start drinking the water drops after spraying, it is a good idea to spray.

Eggs can be hatched in several ways, They must be kept in a moisty environment, I prefer hatching on cocos torf, as it can contain a lot of water and it has a capability to keep away mould.

I am exposing eggs to day cycle exposing them to light. Hatching time of the day depends on light. If you are hatching 10 nymphs in one day, they will all appear within the same hour of the day even if they are hatching in different boxes.

Harvest the eggs once a week and place them in suitable hatching boxes, you should expect a hatching rate at 90% or more. If you have a heating mat under your vivarium you may need to collect eggs more often, not to cook the eggs.

If nymphs get away from the food plants, it can be nessesary to help them back.