Caribbean cricket nymph?
Location: Carriacou, Grenada, Windward Islands
September 10, 2011 11:20 am
Found these huge insects feeding on foliage in a small coniferous tree. Locals call it a ’God horse’ but this usually refers to a Mantid. This specimen didnt have the telltale triangular head like most Mantids. They are about 200mm in length (head to ovipositor spike) and were very active at night. They had small vestigial wings on their backs which made me think they might be a nymph stage.
Can you help?
Signature: Cheers! Joey Baloney
Dear Joey Baloney,
This is a Walkingstick, and it looks very similar to a photo we posted from Puerto Rico several years ago. That species was identified as Diapherodes acalus and it is commonly called Caballo de San Pedro or St. Peter’s Horse. We believe that based on the Phasmids in Cyberspace website, that your individual is a female Diapherodes gigantea. Jonathan’s Jungle Roadshow also has some wonderful photos of this large Walkingstick.
Many thanks for your prompt and positive response! I have spent hours on the internet trying to identify it with absolutely no luck whatsoever.
Can I add my sincere appreciation to the work that you guys do?
One last thing – can you shed some light on where this species sits in relation to other related genera?
Hi Again Joey,
We are having a bit of trouble with your taxonomy question. On the French website Le Monde des Phasmes, Diapherodes gigantea is classified in the subfamily Cladomorphinae, and on the Spanish language website, Phasmiduniverse, the subfamily Cladomorphinae is categorized in the family Phasmatidae along with:
“Subfamilia Cladomorphinae (Brunner von Wattenwyl 1893)
Subfamilia Clitumninae (Brunner von Wattenwyl 1893)
Subfamilia Eurycanthinae (Brunner von Wattenwyl 1893)
Subfamilia Extatosomatinae (Sellick 1997)
Subfamilia Lonchodinae (Brunner von Wattenwyl 1893)
Subfamilia Phasmatinae (Gray, G.R. 1835)
Subfamilia Platycraninae (Brunner von Wattenwyl 1893)
Subfamilia Tropidoderinae (Brunner von Wattenwyl 1893)
Subfamilia Xeroderinae (Günther 1953).”
BugGuide indicates that there is only one North American species, , but states: “a single sp. in our area(1); a very large family, with ca. 160 genera worldwide(2)” and lists the range as: “all major zoogeographical regions(2); in our area, FL only(1).” The only species in the family reported on BugGuide from North America is Carausius morosus – Indian Stick Insect and BugGuide states: “Introduced and considered a pest in southern California.” We suspect these are exotic pet escapees. Because BugGuide mentions Florida as the only place the family is represented, we suspect a native species in the family has not been photographed and reported to BugGuide.