20 May 2018 MYSTERY EXPLAINED
Jack Hasenpusch emailed me a pdf of a chapter on camouflage and natural history, he and Paul Brock wrote for the book Camouflage Cultures, Beyond the Art of Disappearance. This was in response to a number of questions I asked him about spiny leaf insects, also known as giant prickly stick insects, Extatosoma tiaratum. The females can take a leaf-mimicking or lichen-mimicking shape. I had heard that the lichen-mimicking insects were instars which lost their lichen pattern and reverted to an overall light colour as adults. The pdf confirmed that the lichen pattern can be retained by adult females on rare occasions. The shape of the leaf-mimicking form is so different from the lichen-mimicking form that it is hard to believe they are the same species. I have filmed brown and green leaf-mimicking adult females on the mountain as well as an adult male and late and early lichen-mimicking instars.