Eophyllium

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Eophyllium
Temporal range: Eocene
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Phasmatodea
Superfamily: Phyllioidea
Family: Phylliidae
Genus: Eophyllium
Wedmann et al, 2007
Species: E. messelensis
Binomial name
Eophyllium messelensis
Wedmann et al, 2007

Eophyllium is an extinct monotypic genus of Phasmatodea, a type of insect that is ancestral to the modern Phylliidae. These insects mimic the shape of leaves for camouflage, with a single species Eophyllium messelensis.[1]

A full body fossil of E. messelensis was recovered from a 47 million year old fossil lake bed in Germany. The 6 centimeter (2.4 in) long fossil has a body that is identical in shape to fossil leaves recovered from the same strata.

The genitalia of the fossil are nearly identical to those of modern leaf insects, indicating that the species has changed little over the millennia. One area in which E. messelensis differs from its modern descendants is in its front legs which don't have flattened, leaf-like projections that modern leaf insects use to cover their heads.

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