Yes, it’s real. I had the honour of witnessing this wondrous Jabberwocky of a creature in the Auroville forest, Tamilnadu.
It’s Latin name is Gongylus Gongylodes, otherwise known as a Dead Leaf Mantis or (rather poetically) the Wandering Violin Mantis. It moves like Michael Jackson doing the robot dance in a hurricane if Michael Jackson was made out of leaves. The Wikipedia entry says that the males are capable of flight (which I’m glad I found out about later) but I was reassured by the following: They live and breed in large groups without unnecessary cannibalism. An example for us all.
My friend Chris [conspiracyofjoy] managed to shoot a video of it. (Excellent work considering he only had one useable leg at the time).
And here’s how to handle one – should the situation ever arise.