Care Sheet - Phyllium philippinicum

Also known as: Phyllium Sp. Philippines or PSG278

Description

Male is 55-60mm, Slim body, wings and can fly.

Female 75-80mm Wide body with beautiful cover wings, but she can not fly. The normal color is leaf green, but yellow, orange and brown variations are common.

Sexes can be distinguished from L3, The end of the female body are more rounded compared to the male.

Life cycle

Phyllium has as many insects an interesting life cycle. They can pretty much be compared to grasshoppers – starting as eggs and moulting into 5 to 6 nymph stadiums before ending up as adults. The first stage after hatching is referred to as Level 1 or L1, The newly hatched nymph does not at all look like the adult, it is almost black with white edges an looks more like a small spider. During the L1 stage the nymph gradually turns green and before moulting to L2 it is completely green.

Development continues in stages and when reaching L6 for females L5 for males stage, often referred to as "sub adult", the 10mm pre-stadium for wings are easily seen.

After the last moulting to adult the individuals are fully developed with wings and the males with long antennas, 2-3 weeks later they will begin mating and start laying eggs. During coming months the female will drop two to three eggs per day in the bottom of the vivarium.

Newly laid eggs are smooth wit a nice pattern, but after a few hours in the humidity they get a very distinctive look with great fins.

Development times for the various stages may vary depending on temperature and animal welfare.

But I find that eggs are approx. Four to six months to hatch , moulting occurs approx. 1 time per month , and the adults live 6-9 months , males slightly shorter.

Vivarium

The animals makes no great demands on the size of the vivarium , but I prefer a vivarium that is more than 40 cm high, as it makes it easier to feed and provide good opportunity for nymphs to hang freely during moulting.

The decoration in the vivarium should in my view be only feed the plants , everything else will just make it harder for the nymphs to find food.

As regards the ventillation there are several opinions on this. My experience is that it works really well with the terrariums that have a small ventillation net at the bottom front and a small ventilation net at the top . The Exo-Terra terrariums 's have ventillation net across the top, when I am using these I cover most of the top with plastics.

The bottom layer has two functions: as decoration and to retain moisture. I think even a layer of coconut fiber or vercumilit is very suitable. The challenge of the seam is to keep it clean and collecting eggs, so I have currently no bottom layer .

Feed

Leaf from Blackberry, Raspberry, oak, rose and Guava.

You have to be 100% sure that the leaves are free of pesticides.

Blackberry Leaves must be "old" but still green and fresh . The new hairy leaves are toxic , especially for L1- L3 nymphs.

For larger animals arrange a bouquet of blackberry stems in a glass of water so the leaves stay fresh . For smaller nymphs I fill the glass with water , put the plastic tightly over the glass with a rubber band and dots some holes for the branches. You'll soon find out that it is necessary to cut the thorns of blackberry branches to get them through plastic. For small nymphs edges should be cut off to make it easier to eat the leaves.

Winter Feeding

During October, oak and rose lose the leaf and blackberry leaves is the only available food. Some blackberry varieties are evergreen , but not all. If your favorite blackberry area suddenly withered by the winter's first hard frost - then you have to go out and find a new place with more winter resistant bramble.

Growing winter food

You can easily grow your own food in the winter. I have been very successful in raising a small oak forest in different plastic boxes (about 6cm high).

Fill the tray halfway with potting soil, put a layer of acorns on top of the soil and finish with a layer of potting soil. Water thoroughly , put a piece of plastic over and put it at the window.

A month later you have a small forest which is perfect for feeding especially nymphs.

I made it through several winters in this way - both my phillipinicum and giganteum survived on this diet.

Temperature

20 to 25 degrees during the day , 18 to 20 at night. Higher temperature causes the animals development to go faster , but the lifespan is shortened too.

Humidity

I do not measure the humidity , but I spray with water from a spray bottle 1-2 times a day.

High humidity is good for several reasons: it provides more smoothly moulting, it ensures that the animals do not dehydrate and finally keeps the feed leaves more fresh.

Breeding

Phyllium phlippinicum reproducing sexually but can actually reproduce without males , but then the nymphs will be all females, so I prefer sexual reproduction.

Some let the eggs hatch in the vivarium, which is likely to succeed if the substrate is kept moist . I prefer to collect the eggs and then store them in plastic boxes where I spray them regularly. I have tried with several types of substrate , but finds that cocos fiber is my favorite. The challenge is to keep the eggs moist without the formation of mold, and the cocos fiber fulfill this.

After about 4 months, the eggs begin to hatch . The small L1 nymphs are almost black with white edges , and they will seek up in the vivarium. Beware, they are pretty fast runners.

For handeling of the small nymphs I use a small brush, let the nymphs walk to the brush and off the brush where you need them to go. If you try to drag them off the leaf they easily loose legs.. If the nymphs lose a leg while they are in the early stages they can regenerate , but only in connection with moulting.