Plan the perfect garden with our interactive tool →

Leaf Bug Identification

walking leaf image by Pat Lalli from

Bugs tend to evolve to have colors and shapes that mimic the natural surroundings. This mimicry has developed over millions of years of evolution and has created the leaf bug. Leaf bugs are herbivores that feed off the leaves of plants. By looking like leaves themselves, they can often feed undisturbed. There are other bugs that also have leaf-like appearances.


Leaf bugs often look like leaves--thus their name. This appearance allows the leaf bug to camouflage itself among real leaves. These bugs feed off leaves, such as eucalyptus leaves, according to Interesting Animals. The camouflage of the leaf bug is so good that those identifying the leaf bug must look very carefully for movement on the leaves to spot the bug.


Leaf bugs can be identified by their behavior. Leaf bugs play dead when they see a predator. They can also sway in the wind like a real leaf does to trick predators, according to Interesting Animals. The leaf bug has the ability to regrow lost legs. The lost legs will not be regrown when the leaf bug is fully grown, so handlers must be very careful.


Leaf bugs do not eat enough of a plant to be considered a crop pest. These bugs mostly just suck on the plant’s sap, according to North Carolina State University. Leaf bugs are so convincing that they sometimes accidentally chew on each other.


The leaf bug is sometimes kept as a pet. In this case, the leaf bug must be placed in a container that has a lot of leaves for the bug to feel comfortable. They lay a lot of eggs and create a lot of offspring, according to Interesting Animals. The eggs are usually laid in slits inside plants, according to Insect Guide. Leaf bug larvae have a vermilion color and large black spots on the thorax. Wing-pads develop that are orange-yellow, according to North Carolina State University.

Other Leafy Bugs

Leaf-footed bugs have bodies that do not look like leaves, but their legs are shaped like leaves. These legs are able to hold on to the leaves of plants very well. Their bodies are dark brown and have a yellowish-white stripe that travels between their thorax and their butt, according to Texas A&M University. The nymphs look just like the adults. Many other bugs are small and green, allowing them to blend in with the plants that they feed on, according to the University of Minnesota. These are often mites or insects. Some are also predators that camouflage themselves so that the plant-feeding insects do not see them when they creep up on them.

Garden Guides