Currently viewing the category: "Walkingsticks"

Subject:  What are these two insects?
Geographic location of the bug:  Ben Lomond, CA. Santa Cruz County, CA. Redwood forest.
Date: 06/20/2019
Time: 02:20 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Crowd sourcing all entomologists! I found these two creatures on my backdoor yesterday. I am guessing they are either grasshopper or katydid nymphs. If they are the same species, they show sexual dimorphism. The bottom one was about 2-2.5 inches long (minus antennae). I also assume that nymphs do not mate . . . so are these two just hanging out together? Any clarifications welcome.
How you want your letter signed:  Carla

Mating Timemas

Dear Carla,
What an exciting submission to our site you have submitted.  These are not nymphs, and though there is no actual coupling happening, your images document a male (smaller and on top) and female Timema engaging in pre- or post-mating activity.  Timemas are related to Walkingsticks, not Orthopterans, and according to BugGuide the habitat is:  “
On foliage, twigs, or branches of host shrubs or trees…or on the ground near base of host or other plants, where they may retreat during the day or drop upon disturbance. Sometimes also found sheltering under stones. Host plants mostly associated with chaparral; some with woodlands or forest (e.g. douglas fir, redwood).  Green morphs tend to rest on leaves; brown to gray morphs on stems, branches or ground.  Unstriped morphs are usually associated with broad-leaved host plants (e.g. oaks, ceanothus, manzanita, etc.). Striped morphs are usually associated with host plants having needle-like leaves (e.g. chamise, douglas fir, redwood, etc.).  Coloration, stripes, and other markings serve as camouflage, and are adaptations driven by selection pressure due to predation by visually-oriented birds and lizards.”  BugGuide also has a map showing the ranges of some of the 21 recognized species, but BugGuide also notes:  “dependable species ID requires study of the shape of externally visible structures of the terminalia, especially of the male (for non-parthenogenetic spp.)…in conjunction with location, host plant, color and markings” but that is beyond our area of expertise.  Based on the map, our best guess is that your species is Timema californicum, and BugGuide does indicate:  “T. californicum has records north of San Francisco Bay in Marin Co.”  Of that species, BugGuide notes:  “Recorded host plants: manzanita (Arctostaphylos spp.), ceanothus (Ceanothus spp.), oak (Quercus spp.), mountain mahogony (Cercocarpus spp.), toyon (Heteromeles arbutifolia).”  If we miscalculated your location, please let us know.  In closing, BugGuide also notes:  “NEWS ITEM! (3/29/18): The Timema Discovery Project is an important new initiative aiming to harness as many people as possible to collect much needed data for advancing our understanding of Timema…please visit the web site, spread the word, and participate!”  Thanks again for submitting this exciting posting.

Mating Timemas

Hi Daniel,
Thank you so much for responding and sending the information! I am excited to discover a family of bugs I’ve been unfamiliar with. I know regular walking sticks but did not know about these short-bodied relatives. Wonderful!

Subject:  Scorpion tail bug?
Geographic location of the bug:  Austin, Tx
Date: 06/17/2019
Time: 11:22 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  This 4 inch long bug has been sticking around our entrance for a few days. I never saw it move but after 3 days it changed its position.
Looks creepy with that weired scorpion-like thing coming out of its tail.
Thanks for helping to identify the species.
How you want your letter signed:  Andreas

Mating Muskmare

Dear Andreas,
This is a mating Muskmare, a Two Striped Walkingstick.  The tail you mentioned is actually the smaller male insect riding the back of his much larger mate.  Featured Creatures has a wealth of information on this species, including:  “this species is capable of squirting a strong-smelling defensive spray that is painfully irritating to the eyes and mucous membranes.”

Thanks a lot for your help here, Daniel!
After I submitted my pictures I went back to do more investigation as the number of legs didn’t match bug or spider. After the 10th look I also discovered that is actually a mating couple. Guess I need more practicing 😉
Cheers from Austin
Andreas Stark

Subject:  whats the name of this bug
Geographic location of the bug:  amsterdam, netherlands
Date: 04/22/2019
Time: 07:25 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  the bug was found in the Hortus Botanicus Leiden in the Netherlands
it was walking on an ant plant
How you want your letter signed:  Rick

Stick Insect

Dear Rick,
At first we were quite puzzled by your image, and then it dawned upon us that this must be an immature Stick Insect in the Order Phasmida.  Beyond that, we are at a bit of a loss.  We are uncertain of the species or even if it is a native or introduced species for you, though we are leaning toward the latter.  Since you discovered this little critter in a botanical garden, the flora is likely from many locations on the planet, and if there is climate control, that flora might even include jungle species from the tropics.  When importing plants, it is quite easy to accidentally introduce insects, especially immature individuals or eggs.  Perhaps one of our readers who knows more about Phasmids will write in with a more specific identification.

Subject:  What’s that bug
Geographic location of the bug:  Burwood Chrisfchurch5
Date: 03/31/2019
Time: 05:28 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Found resting on wall of our house.
How you want your letter signed:  BRM

Stick Insect

Dear BRM,
This is a Stick Insect in the order Phasmatodea.  According to Manaaki Whenua Landcare Research:  “The New Zealand stick insect fauna contains 21 valid species in eight genera, but much taxonomic work remains to be done. Recent fieldwork and data analyses have revealed the presence of undescribed species, particularly in the South Island. Furthermore, several described species are of dubious validity. Current taxonomic research includes a large amount of collecting throughout New Zealand and all major offshore islands. Generic and species boundaries are being determined using both morphological and molecular genetic characters.”

Subject:  Big stick insect!
Geographic location of the bug:  Valdora QLD Australia
Date: 04/01/2019
Time: 08:40 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Can you please tell me what this massive insect is? At a guess it’s about 250mm long.
How you want your letter signed:  Eric

Female Titan Stick Insect

Dear Eric,
Size alone is not a diagnostic feature for Stick Insects in Australia, which seems to be the home of several of the largest Stick Insects in the world.  Do you by chance have a dorsal view that shows the head?  That would be helpful.  The Brisbane Insect site has images of some large Stick Insects from Australia.  We will post your images as Unidentified and perhaps one of our readers more familiar with Australian fauna will provide a species identification.

Female Titan Stick Insect

Update:  Comment from Michael Connors:
An adult female Titan Stick Insect (Acrophylla titan) – the long wavy cerci and the dark spots on the underside are diagnostic features.

ED. Note:  According to the Brisbane Insect site:  “Titan Stick Insects are giant insect, they are the longest insect in Australia. The female adult body length is about 230mm.”

Hi Daniel,
Thanks heaps for taking the time to look it up and get back to me! You guys are awesome:)

Subject:  Stick bug love?
Geographic location of the bug:  Gulfshores, Alabama
Date: 08/12/2018
Time: 01:22 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Just sharing some bug loving.
How you want your letter signed:  Lower Alabama Bug guy

Mating Muskmares

Dear Lower Alabama Bug guy,
These are Two-Striped Walkingsticks in the genus
Anisomorpha, commonly called Muskmares because the much smaller male rides the larger female during mating, as your image illustrates, and because, according to BugGuide:  “Members of this genus can deliver a chemical spray to the eyes that can cause corneal damage.”