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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 the Phasmatodea, a type of insect 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-cm-long fossil has a body identical in shape to fossil leaves recovered from the same stratum.[2]

The genitalia of the fossil are nearly identical to those of modern leaf insects, indicating 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 do not have flattened, leaf-like projections that modern leaf insects use to cover their heads.


  1. ^ Meister der Täuschung — Universität Bonn
  2. ^ Wedmann, Sonja; Bradler, Sven; Rust, Jes (9 January 2007). "The first fossil leaf insect: 47 million years of specialized cryptic morphology and behavior". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 104 (2): 565–9. doi:10.1073/pnas.0606937104. PMC 1766425Freely accessible. PMID 17197423. Retrieved 2007-01-15.