Grasshopper, large, very unsuaul
February 4, 2010
We found this grasshopper? bug – looks like it just hatched or is not well. It is about 6″, or 12cm long. When we found it, its deep pink corrugated looking wings were open quite wide and the leaf looking bits at the top of the wings were standing up. We bought it home to observe it but it didn’t open its wings again. It was walking around on some bark that we collected for it. In the end, we put it on a tree to see if it would open its wings, but it walked up the tree and we were busy and couldn’t watch it any more. Pics attached. Can’t get the pic showing the whole grasshopper to load. It is the same size as the others.
South East Queensland, Australia
This is a Goliath Stick Insect, Eurycnema goliath, which we identified on the Brisbane Insect website. The individuals pictured there have more mottled coloration where your specimen seems to be more evenly green. The bright pink wings are evident in your specimen and the images posted online. The Brisbane Insect Website indicates: “By watching the Goliath, we notice that it has at least the following defence mechanisms. Of course its primary mechanism is its heavy camouflage. Its appearances and its movement resembles twigs or branches so that it can hide away from predators. It’s second defence mechanism is to scare its predators. When disturbed it will display the bright red colour under its wings and the eyes-patterns between the thorax and rear legs. Together with a swishing sound apparently coming from the wings. It will also kick its spiny legs which will help frighten the predator. We also noticed that the Goliath we found, one of its rear leg is missing, the other rear leg is a little bit shorter than normal (compare with pictures in reference books) and one of the front legs is extremely small. This indicated that it lost parts of its legs at least three times. This could be its last defence mechanism, for when its legs are held by its predator, a bird for example, it loses its leg deliberately and drops to the ground, the bird may not find the Goliath stick for its camouflage. “ In many Stick Insects, the female is the larger, and we believe your specimen is a female. Please try responding to our response and attaching the other photo. We would love to see the complete insect.
The Brisbane Insect Website also states: “Goliath Stick Insects eat a lot of plants materials and they leave a lot of droppings. To avoid the predators notice them by their droppings, the insect has a very special way to handle it. At the rear end of the insects’ abdomen, they have three large filaments. The middle filament holds the dropping when it comes out. The stick insects will flip their abdomen to throw their droppings a few meters away.“
Thanks for your reply. It was such an interesting experience finding this insect this morning. I don’t know if it is the same as the ones in the link to Brisbane Insect website – its body was more substantial and its head was very fine compared to the more obtuse head on the ones on that web page. Anyhow, I have attached 2 more pics for you to see.
Thanks for sending the other image Jan. We are now confident that this is a Goliath Stick Insect, though the coloration is different from most of the photos we found online.
Correction: March 28, 2013
Thanks to a comment from Becky, we now know that this is a Pink Winged Stick Insect, Podacanthus typhon, and we located a matching image on OzAnimals which states: “found in south east Australia in New South Wales and Victoria.” It is described as: “The Pink-winged Phasma has striking pink wings with reddish pink veins and green leading edge. The front pair of wings are short and green. The wing covers are pale green and ridged in the centre. The legs are reddish pink and fairly short. The mesothorax is short and narrow with numerous tubercles. The body is long and pink above with last segment green, with two long thin cerci. Both males and females can fly.”