Walking Stick Insect

Common Name: Walking stick insect

Type: Insect

Family: Phylliidae

Range: Walking Sticks insect are usually found in North America, Australia, and around the Mediterranean Sea in Europe. They are plentiful in the rain forests of South America including Costa Rica, Asia, and Africa. They normally live in tropical areas and temperate regions. Common American Walking Sticks can be found east of the Mississippi River, from southern Canada to central Florida. They are also found in parts of Arizona and northern Mexico.

Size: Walking Stick size ranges from less than one inch to over one foot in length, depending on the

The Herbivore diet of the Stick insects is strictly vegetarian. They only eat leaves and stems of plants and habitually eat at night only. Stick insects mostly feed on leaves and other green plants, along with the odd berries, vines and leaves or fruit. Adult American Walking Sticks like better to eat oak leaves.

Average life span: The average lifespan of a Walking Stick is 1 to 2 two years.

Habitat: Walking Stick insects are found all over the world, but mostly hot and humid regions. They live on leaves, they are found mostly on vegetation and bushes where the branches are similar to their own look. Their natural habitat is woodlands and forested areas where there are many broad leaf trees. They live on the foliage of bushes and on undergrowth tree stems. Giant Spiny Walking Sticks live on the ground instead of bushes or trees. They hide under woof and stones during the day. They can be seen throughout the Costa Rica. They can be found in national parks of Costa Rica.

Breeding/Reproduction: Walking stick insects go through three stages of development: egg, nymph and adult. The walking insect female can lay up to 150 eggs, dropping them one by one to the ground. These eggs are also camouflaged and resemble a brown seed. It hatches in the spring as a nymph and resemble a tiny adult. Stick insects can reproduce parthenogenetically, without the need for males. They are able to reproduce almost entirely without males. Unmated females produce eggs that become more females. When a male does manage to mate with a female, there’s a 50/50 chance their offspring will be male. A captive female stick insect can produce hundreds of all-female offspring without ever mating. There are several species of walking stick insects for which scientists have never found any males.

Walking Sticks
are insects which belong to the order Phasmatodea. In United States and Canada they were called Walking sticks or Stick bugs but in different parts of the world like in Europe, Australia and Asia they were called Stick Insects. Most of this species are mostly brown, green or black that looks like a stick which helps them camouflage itself to branches; tree barks or twigs hence the name Walking Stick. This makes them greatly hard to spot. Walking Stick’s habitat is mostly in warmer places like the tropical and subtropical areas. Mostly they are found in Southeast Asia, South America and Australia. But some species are seen in the United States mostly from the South-eastern parts including Costa Rica.

One species of the walking sticks which is the Phobaeticus chani is considered as the longest insect in the world. But mostly walking sticks has an average length of 1 inch to a foot or more. One species of Phasmatodea has cylindrical with a stick like body. But others have a deflated body that resembles a leaf. Like most insects the walking sticks body composed of its Head.
There you can see their eyes. Most of the species has compound eyes but some winged males have ocelli eyes. It was been noted that they have a very good optic system that allows them to see significant details even in dark areas. The legs of these stick insects are usually long and slim. Their antennae are also slender and elongated than the length of their body for some species. Some stick bugs has the capability of limb autotomy which means they can detached parts of their body like their legs and antennae since they have the ability to regenerate those. This type of insects has species ranging from winged to wingless variety.

Most of these stick insects are parthenogenic which means the female phasmids can develop eggs without mating to the male. But still some female even though has parthogenic ability they still remain to mate and even be bisexual if there are few males in its habitat. The female lays its eggs in different ways. One is they flip the egg on the ground from her abdomen. Other is they put the egg in the leaves or buries them in the soil. One way as well is they stick the eggs in the stem or a leaf. It was believed that a lone female can lay approximately 100 to almost 1,000 eggs which vary from different species. A mother that doesn’t mate, all of its offspring will turn out female and the precise copy of the mother. The eggs of the walking stick looks like a seed. It is also hard that will protect them from various threats. The hatching time of these eggs are approximately 13 to 70 days depending on environment but most species has an average of 20 to 30 days to hatch its eggs. After the eggs are hatched the nymphs will come forth and eat its mold skin. After few molting they will become adult walking sticks. The walking sticks have a lifespan from a month to approximately two years depending on the species and its habitat.

Stick bugs are herbivorous which plainly eats leaves and shrubs. They are also mostly nocturnal which means they hunt and do their activity in night time. But the young stick bugs are mostly diurnal or they feed on day time. The walking stick has many ways to cover itself from predators.

Some species looks like a twig or a stick or a moss or even fungus. Some species has the ability to act dead. This will hide them from predators when they were in a tree of tropical Costa Rica rain forest and in the national parks.

Others look like a leaf so they can cover themselves from predator on the leaves of the trees. Sometimes they will rock themselves when hiding so that they will look like a leaf or a stick blown by a wind.

Others have bright color wings. When a predator approaches to them, they will open up their wings to divulged that bright colors. This will startled their predator having them time to hide or escape. Other species can change their colors to blend in their surroundings.
Some walking sticks have femoral spines that can cause considerable pain to predator. Others can secrete liquid that may cause sting or burning feeling in the eyes and mouth. While another species can bleed and the smell of blood irk predators. One species can puke which predators find inedible.

Walking sticks are labeled as injurious to plant life to the tree in the forests. They usually eat the whole leaf that after some time the trees will be affected and die. Humans in order to protect the vegetation mostly resort to using chemical pesticides to control the damage. Aside from human, walking sticks natural predators are birds and wasps.

The walking sticks have the ability to regenerate lost limbs. A female can reproduce by herself, but will only produce females. Several species of walking sticks can spurt a fluid that make their possible predators temporarily blind.

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