Hundreds of various types of stick insects are housed in captivity in zoos and as pets, out of the world’s 6000 species. Colors, body shape, behavior, natural habitat, and preferred temperature and humidity are all unique to each species.
The descriptions below will introduce you to various types of stick insects, as well as their appearance and behavior.
1. Annam Stick Insect (Medauroidea extradentata)
The body of an adult female Annam stick insect is long and slender, with no appendages. The body is brown and has a rugged texture that resembles wood. Her head is adorned with two horns that serve as camouflage, like thorns on a tree. Her legs are often covered with structures that resemble thorns or rough bark. These thorns aren’t actually sharp; they’re only there to hide the insect.
The skin of the nymphs appears to be smooth. Their legs are bright green and their bodies are light brown when they are young. They will become a light brown color as they age. The stick insects are non-aggressive and docile. Like other stick insects, this species is active at night. They don’t switch too much throughout the day. When you pick one up, it can take a long time to walk.
It will also act as if it has died by holding its legs close to its torso. After a moment, it will abandon its façade and resume walking.
2. Giant Leaf Insect (Phyllium giganteum)
The body of a leaf insect is very thick and large, resembling a banana. The legs also have appendages that resemble leaves. Green skin with dark stains along the margins. The tip of the belly is adorned with two brown dots. Individuals vary in terms of the color of green and the sum of brown edges and spots. Females can reach a length of about 10 cm.
Like many stick insects and leaf insects, it is a rather docile animal. It remains perfectly still throughout the day and moves and eats at night. The newborn nymphs are a little hyperactive at first, but after their first molt, they settle down.
When you pick up a female, she will usually only remain still to maintain the illusion of becoming a leaf. It’s difficult to get them to move.
3. Giant Prickly Stick Insect (Extatosoma tiaratum)
This kind of stick insect resembles a cactus rather than a twig. It has a bulky body that is riddled with thin spines. It has large, spiked lobes on its legs that resemble the leaves of a desert plant. It is usually light to medium brown, but there are also grey, beige, and dark brown forms.
Some young female Giant Prickly Stick Insects have an unusual “lichen” coloration. Their color is determined by the circumstances under which they are stored, although it is unclear the conditions are needed to cause the stick insects to change color. There is a huge disparity between males and females as adults. Females are 15 cm tall, dense, and thick.
Their backs are covered with spines, and their legs have huge lobes. Males are very slender, have small spines, and grow to be 12 to 13 cm long. Adult males have long wings and can fly, while females have short wings and cannot fly.
When attacked, it uses an awesome defensive strategy: it imitates a scorpion. If they are startled, their tail curls up to resemble a scorpion’s. They’ll also lift their front legs to imitate scorpion shears on occasion.
4. Jungle Nymph (Heteropteryx dilatata)
This bug is not as long and slender as other people imagine a stick insect to be. Males and females are so dissimilar that they seem to be from different species. Adult females are bright green in color, large, and have a broad body. Their wings are very small and form a cap on the insect’s tail. Males are long and slim, with brown and beige coloring.
Their wings are very long, extending all the way down the animal’s abdomen. Small spikes cover both sexes’ heads and bodies, but the female has more. Both sexes have pink to red hind wings, with the males also possessing black streaks (or webbing) on these wings. Females grow to be 15 cm long and the second heaviest insect on the planet (the first is a big beetle).
It can display a defensive system that will potentially harm you if it is attacked, so it is not ideal for children. When a female is attacked, she will stand on her four front legs while her hind legs and belly are raised in the air. If you approach it, she will violently clip her hind legs together, which are covered with large spines. The adult females will use their mini-wings to make a loud rustling noise when showing their defense behavior. All this display is meant to scare away predators.
5. Leaf Insect (Phyllium philippinicum)
Same as Giant Leaf Insect only smaller. The female will reach a size of about 7 cm and the male of about 6 cm.
Females are heavier, taller, and broader than males. The males are extremely slender and short. Female adults have long wings that lie flat on their backs, but no underwings, which are required for flight. Males have very long antennae as well. The variation in body size and appearance between males and females can be seen even though the leaf insects are only nymphs.
They can walk in a stop-go pattern, as though they are being pushed by the storm. Males can fly until they reach adulthood, and they do so often when interrupted. Females are unable to fly.
6. New Guinea Spiny Stick Insect (Eurycantha calcarata)
This stick insect is very large and bulky. It resembles a large branch rather than a twig or stick. Its adult color is always dark brown, occasionally even black, and it has a shiny appearance. The nymphs come in a wide range of colors. They’re normally a moss-like arrangement in various shades of green and brown.
This stick insect’s legs are thick and prickly. Females do not have a long thorn on their hind legs, while adult males do. Adult females have a stinger-like ovipositor at the end of their belly, so it isn’t intended to defend themselves. Females grow to be 11 to 15 cm long, while males grow to be about 11 cm long.
Since males may be hostile against other males, you can keep them in an enclosure with plenty of open room. When males are agitated or feel threatened, they may stand on their front legs and raise their hind legs into the air. To shield itself, the huge thorn on the inside of these large legs would be included.
It would snap its legs together, crushing something caught in the space between them. When it takes your side, it can be very painful, so keep your distance from the male’s spine and legs.
7. Thorny Stick Insect (Aretaon asperrimus)
When fully grown, the Thorny Stick Insect has a rather spikey appearance. Massive spikes adorn the males in particular. Young stick insects have smoother skin and shorter spikes than adults. The spikes aren’t used to battle or bite, but they do make it more difficult to eat the stick bug in nature.
The Thorny Stick Insect’s shades range from dark brown to light brown to slightly greenish. The stick insect’s colors are determined by the world in which it resides. More moist habitats create darker stick insects, but it’s unclear which conditions are needed to achieve a certain color.
When compared to adult males, females are significantly larger and bulkier. Males are small and have much larger spikes on their bodies than females. The young ones have a contrasting appearance at first.
They are mostly active at night. They won’t sting you, pinch you, or threaten you. The ominous spikes aren’t used for self-defense. They are easy to manage and stroll at a leisurely pace.
8. Vietnamese Stick Insect (Ramulus artemis)
The Vietnamese Stick insect is long and thin, as many people would expect from a stick insect. This species has yellow eyes and is light to medium green in color. A brown stain can be seen on the head and the belly. Occasionally, full brown varieties appear. On the underside of their belly, adult females have a thin thorn. They are about 15cm just for the body length and 21cm if include with their front legs.
This stick insect moves in a wobbly or trembling manner much of the time. It does this to mimic the movement of a twig in the breeze. This stick insect can easily be handled by a child, but it should not be picked up and should instead be encouraged to step into your side. Nymphs in their infancy are very vulnerable.
9. Yellow Flying Stick (Necroscia annulipes)
This species is bright green as a young nymph. Even if the color green is almost fluorescent, it isn’t particularly noteworthy. There are a few black spots here and there, but the nymphs are mostly green. The adults are the most attractive because they have a lovely yellow, black, red, grey, and blue theme. Adults have wings as well, which are a vivid light pink color.
Males and females have similar appearances, but males are smaller and thinner. The males have claspers on the end of their abdomens, which they use to grab the female while mating. Females have a structure at the end of their abdomen that allows them to deposit eggs in soil or soft substrate.
The nymphs are easy to handle; when you approach them, they will prefer to remain motionless. When you touch them, they will sometimes fall to the floor. The adults are a little more difficult to manage since they can fly. When they are threatened, they will take off. Their flight is calm and not particularly fast. They will usually fly to light, such as mirrors.
If you offend it too much by grabbing it, a foul liquid will be released. It hasn’t been linked to any allergic or irritant reactions. The odor is gross, but it will fade quickly. Its aim is to deter predators.
10. Zompro’s Stick Insect (Parapachymorpha zomproi)
The Zompro’s Stick insect has a traditional stick insect body, which is long and slender with long legs. The insect’s skin has a bark-like appearance that becomes more noticeable as it grows older and larger. From light brown to medium brown, the hue varies. Females have two distinct white or dark V-shaped spots in the center of their bodies. These are not present in young nymphs, but as they grows older, they become more visible.
Adult males are very lean, with slender legs and silky skin. Adult females are stockier and have rougher skin than males. Females have two small horns on their heads and leaf-like lobes on their hips.
It’s easy to manage and won’t attempt to flee. Since this species lacks wings, it is unable to fly. They are mainly active at night and remain still throughout the day. When handled, they will wander about or pretend to be dead by dropping to the floor and becoming motionless.
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