Phasmatodea, likewise called Phasmida

The bizarre-looking, slow-moving, plant-eating go stick - amongst the many intriguing that the insects - has raised camouflage, mimicry and defense come a veritable arts form. With an adaptation called "crypsis," that blends in therefore perfectly through its organic habitat the it often goes totally undetected by would-be predators. Its taxonomic family name, "Phasmatidae," obtained from the Greek native "Phasma," means, appropriately, phantom or apparition. Its other usual names - for instance, specter, devil"s horse, devil"s darning needle and witch"s steed - reflect its organize on the human being imagination.


Male and also female go stick mating, a procedure that might last because that hours, job or also weeks, in south central New Mexico. Only one in 1,000 go sticks is a male.

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Common Questions around Walking Sticks

Appearance and also Anatomy that a wade Stick

Usually numerous inches in size (range indigenous 1/2 customs to 13 inches) The human body is thin choose a twig, has an exoskeletal human body with 3 parts: the head, the thorax and also the abdomen usually green, brown or gray in shade - the its immediately surrounding leafy habitat. The head contains the mind and the chewing mouth parts Insects breath with their thoracic and ab spiracles not through their mouths like humans Two compound eyes, which have actually multiple lenses and also photosensitive cell that can resolve images, motion and also color 2 antenna, which have the right to sense temperature variations and also chemical odors and also can probe physics surroundings.

Thorax contains an essential organs

Thorax serves as the connect points because that the insect"s three pairs the long, spindly, jointed legs, which have actually claws and also suction pads top top the feet two pairs that wings, which take place only on some species. Abdomen consists of the digestive tract and also reproductive offal Abdomen typically extends because that the second fifty percent of the length of the body.

Range, Habitat and Forage

wade sticks occur basically throughout the temperate and, especially, the subtropical and also tropical regions of the world. Lock inhabit most of the united States, arising most abundantly in the southern fifty percent of the country. Types make your homes among preferred plants. For instance, southern California"s and also Arizona"s western short-horned go sticks live among their favored globe mallow, burroweed and deerweed. Texas" giant stick insects pick river bottoms with their favored oaks and also grapevines. Wade sticks may feed ~ above a single, preferred types of broad-leaf plant or a variety of broad-leaf plants. In heavy infestations, go sticks may denude a food plant, back the insect"s reach is usually limited by the absence of wings.

Life Cycle

When mating, male and also female walking sticks may remain coupled for number of hours, several days or sometimes also weeks. Throughout this time, the male, usually smaller sized than the female, may be guarding his mate or, at least, his sperm. The female may lay one to numerous eggs per day, attaching them come the bark and leaves that her home plant, burying lock in the soil below, or merely discharging them to the leaf litter.

The female"s eggs, i beg your pardon often carefully resemble her primary organize plant"s seeds, have lid-like frameworks through i beg your pardon the nymphs will emerge within a issue of months or years, escape on varieties and conditions. Typically, a walking stick will certainly live for a year, however it may live for several years, an especially in captivity.

General Taxonomy the the go Stick

walking sticks seem come defy practiced taxonomic classification, especially at the lower taxonomic levels. They are usually grouped with the stimulate of insects referred to as "Orthoptera," which likewise includes the leaf insects, praying mantis, cockroaches, grasshoppers and also katydids. Earlier, rod insects to be all placed into the Phasmatidae family, which included both the pole insects and leaf insects (insects that resemble leaves). An ext recently the pole insects have actually been re-grouped by scientists into 4 families, including usual walking sticks, winged walking sticks, striped wade sticks, and Timemas (smaller, thicker, flatter-bodied) wade sticks. Altogether some 2500 to 3000 varieties have been described - frequently incompletely and also inadequately, according to the literature - many more species await discovery and description.


Stick insects are an extremely rich in nutrition and also make terrific meals for assorted predators. Predators include: birds, reptiles, spiders, bats and also primates. Since bats hunt at night by making use of echolacation, lock can easily prey on the rod insects through tracking the noise they make. The pole insect"s camouflage go not assist defend them versus bats.

Camouflage and also Defense

The walking stick employs variety of techniques to disguise and defend itself from predators. Some varieties can bite or pinch through their thorny legs.

because that one graphic example, in the wade stick varieties called Diapheromera covilleae, i m sorry lives solely on the creosote bushes the the southwestern united States, the juvenile"s appearance and also color complement the brand-new growth of the organize plant, follow to man Sivinski, Natural background Magazine, June, 1992. The adult masculine resembles a dead twig. The adult female, bigger than the male, resembles a bigger creosote twig.

In enhancement to camouflage, the insect employs range of other defensive tactics. The may, because that a couple of examples:

remain perfectly motionless, especially during the day, with its front and earlier legs outstretched, together if it were a twig of its hold plant. Flex its legs, swaying its body randomly from side to side, mimicking a lightly blowing twig suddenly flip open up its wing (if it has wings) come startle a threaten predator play dead, stiffening the body, and fall come the soil Sacrifice a leg got by a predator (it can regenerate the leg within a few weeks) feeding nocturnally, once the risk of detection by a predator is lower Discharge a foul-tasting blood from its leg joints Regurgitate one evil-tasting liquid with its mouth

Can a walking Stick reason Injury?

Though wade sticks space not well-known to bite, part walking rod species, for instance, the American rod insect (Anisomorpha buprestoides), discovered in the southeastern united States, can spray a milky kind of acidic link from glands ~ above the earlier of that thorax. It intends the spray v surprising accuracy, unerringly hitting the face of a viewed predator, including human beings or pets, native one to 2 feet away. The compound causes intense burning and also even temporary blindness have to it strike the eyes. Must that occur to friend or your pet, you should drench the eyes v cool water and seek clinical attention promptly.

A few Walking rod Facts

As shown by the fossil record, the wade stick has evolutionary roots the reach back much more than 200 million years, to the Triassic geologic period

Walking sticks have suction cups and claws on their feet which enables them to wall up vertical surfaces and upside down

Approximately 1 in 1000 stick insects is male

The walking stick is the longest of every the modern-day insects, with a recorded specimen from Borneo, for example, measuring more than 18 inch in length.

The huge walking stick, Megaphasma denticrus, which arrays from new Mexico eastward, is maybe the longest in the unified States, measuring 6 or seven inches in length.

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Lacking a partner, a female walking stick deserve to still lay fertile eggs, return all will yield mrs larvae. (Animals that have the right to reproduce asexually are explained as "parthenogenetic" by biologists.)

The females of some species rely ~ above ants come disperse your eggs, a procedure called "myrmecochory."

A brand-new Guinea varieties has heavily spined earlier legs that indigenous peoples provided as fishhooks.