Subject: Preying Mantis
Location: Queensland, Australia
September 21, 2012 6:15 pm
I believe that this photo taken by my brother in his garden in Australia, if of an esxstatosoma tiaratum.
Are these found anywhere else?
You have correctly identified though misspelled this creature as Extatosoma tiaratum, but it is not a Preying Mantis. It is a Phasmid or Stick Insect. It is commonly called the Giant Prickly Stick Insect or Macleay’s Spectre Stick Insect and it is found in Australia and New Guinea according to the Keeping Insects care sheet. The Keeping Insects care sheet provides this information on Breeding the Giant Prickly Stick Insect: “Males and females are easily distinguishable. Adult females are big, heavy and do not have large wings. The males are long and slender and have very long wings that reach past the abdomen. Males have very long antennae, this can already be seen in young nymphs (L5 onwards). The differences in size and body type become more and more evident as the nymphs grow. Extatosoma tiaratum can reproduce both parthenogenetically and sexually. When the female does not mate, she will lay eggs that develop into females. When she does mate, she will lay eggs that will develop into both males and females. The nymphs born from parthenogenic eggs are often weaker and the eggs need almost twice the time to hatch than fertilized eggs do.” Because Extatosoma tiaratum is a popular pet, there are numerous other care sheets available online including Phasmids in Cyberspace, Whisper of Wolf, Exotic Pets and Reptile Expert. Your individual appears to be one of the forms that mimics lichen.