The Stick Insects Have Arrived!



30 November 2017

Related Subject Area:
Animal Studies


Exciting news for the residents of the new Animal Management Centre - they will be joined by a range of stick insects and will be housed in our new specialist invertebrate room which will be operational from Easter 2018. Many of the stick insects are eggs and will not hatch until February/March time, just in time for their new home.

We have a range of stick insects which are different in appearance, behaviour and husbandry needs. The College Horticulture students will be planting a range of food plants over the next few months for Animal Management students to use. The stick insects enjoy bramble, eucalyptus, privet and nettles.

Giant Spiny stick insects (large brown), scientific name eurycantha calcerata, live under rotting logs and climb into trees at night to feed. The insects in the photographs are adults and the species originates from New Guinea. Eggs are laid in the ground and hatch in four to six months.

Green Bean - green and brown stick insects (sometimes referred to as Giant Lime) stick insects, scientific name Diapherodes gigantea. This species originates from the Caribbean and feeds on eucalyptus trees. The insects in the photographs are nymphs and are about nine weeks old. Eggs fall to the ground as they are laid and hatch in four to six months.

Giant Prickly stick insects (small brown/reddish brown) scientific name Extatosoma tiaratum. The insects in the photographs are nymphs and are between one and four weeks old. Found in Australia and New Guinea where they feed on eucalyptus trees. Eggs are collected by ants and taken to their nest where part of the outside of the egg is eaten but does not stop the egg hatching in the ant's rubbish heap four to six months later. The young emerge looking like the reddish brown ants and only when they moult do they become brown in colour and start mimicking scorpions. Rarely, some nymphs take on the colour of lichen and our students are currently looking at some of the theories as to why this happens.

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