Stick Insect

Stick InsectStick Insect — The Phasmatodea are an order of insects, whose members are variously known as stick insects (in Europe), walking sticks (in the United States of America), ghost insects and leaf insects. The name is derived from the Greek “phasma” meaning an apparition or phantom, and refers to the resemblance of many species to sticks or leaves. Some species (e.g. Anisomorpha) are capable of secreting a substance from glands on the metathorax that can cause an intense burning irritation of the eyes (and in some cases temporary blindness) and mouth of potential predators on contact.

Many stick insects are easy to care for, and make excellent first pets. The Indian (or Laboratory) stick insect, Carausius morosus, requires a tall (25+ cm) vivarium (even a jar with a few holes punched in the top), some bramble, ivy, or privet and an atmosphere at room temperature. Indian stick insects are all female and reproduce by parthenogenesis and seem content living on their own. Occasionally part-male part-female individuals are reared in captivity, but never true males. The stick insects molt and may eat the shed skin. By the sixth molt the stick insect will lay eggs.

To breed stick insects, spray the eggs with water lightly and wait for them to hatch. Use a paint brush to handle the babies (nymphs). Take care not to leave pools of water where they could drown. If the egg is still attached to the insect’s tail then gently pull off with paint brush.

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