Currently viewing the category: "Walkingsticks"

stick bugs
We have some stick bugs as pets. we started out with four and had them a good long time. one by one they died, and we put their cage away. some time later we went to use the cage for a toad the kids found and to our surprise there were baby stick bugs in it. well we ended up with four nice size stick bugs again. we love them , they make great little pets. our question is , how will we know if they laid eggs? and what do the eggs look like? I hope when we lose the ones we have it will not be the end of our bugs.
thank you for any help you can give me.
Mary in Montana

Hi Mary,
Walkingsticks, Family Phasmidae, are much more common in the South than the North, which is probably why you have the Northern Walkingstick, Diapheromera femorata. The males grow to 3 inches and females to 3 3/4 inches in length. They range north to Alberta Canada. They will eat the leaves of many deciduous trees but especially like oak and hazelnut. The female drops her eggs singly and they overwinter among ground litter, hatching in the spring. I guess someone never cleaned the cage before putting it away which is why you wound up with nymphs for a second generation of pets. I have heard that when there is a large population of Walkingsticks laying eggs in the forest, the eggs dropping sound like falling rain.

Bug questions
Could you please tell me what this bug is. I think it may be called a stick bug, but I’m not sure. This one was about seven inches long and hanging out on my
sliding glass door. Very creepy. Do they bite or sting?
Thanks much.

Beautiful Walking Stick photo Dianne,
They do not bite, but some Florida species are known to spray a noxious fluid when disturbed. Your specimen is benign.

Attached is also a picture of one of many walkingsticks roaming around.
Thank you for your help,
Darin, Melissa and Spencer

We just got this photo in.

(11/15/2003) Kind of like a Walkingstick

I would like to see if you can identify an insect for us. Sorry I have no picture, so I will try to describe it. As near as I can describe, it is like a fat walking stick. Usually about 2 inches long, 1/4 to 3/8" wide in the middle, brownish in color, and with a smaller version (1 inch long and skinny) riding piggy back. They were sighted climbing pine trees in central Arkansas.
thanks for your help,

Dear Jon,
Close relatives of the Walkingsticks are a group of insects known as Timemas, Family Timemidae. They differ from Walkingsticks in being smaller and more robust in form. There is a great deal of guessing and speculation concernin the habits of this insect and many have reported it as feeding on coniferous trees. All forms are arboreal, and while they may be found on all kinds of trees during the mating season in May and June, they apparently feed largely in not entirely on deciduous trees. Our California species are a bright leaf green with occasional decidedly pink specimens. It has been reported that other species are brownish in color. Here is an image I downloaded of specimens in a collection.

I came across a walking stick insect while pruning my fruitless cherry tree. I live in Maryland and was wandering what is the specific epithet and if there are any hazards with handling them ?
Below is a photo.
Steve Hawk

Hi steve,
We just recieved a letter from a reader in Florida who was sprayed by a Two-lined Walkingstick, Anisomorpha buprestoides. It seems this particular species has a defense mechanism that doesn’t do any permanent damage, but causes temporary vision problems and discomfort. A northern species, Diapheromera femorata, is fond of cherry as well as some other tree. Unlike some of the tropical species, it is wingless. To our knowledge, they are harmless, though they feed on the leaves of trees. Rarely are they numerous enough to cause any damage to the tree. They are slow moving herbivorous insects that are usually found on trees or shrubs. Many species are able to emit a foul smelling substance from the glands in the thorax. Unlike most insects, Walking Sticks are able to regenerate lost legs. The eggs are laid by simply scattering them to the ground, and when the egg laying females are plentiful, their group egg laying can sound like falling rain. The females are generally larger than the males.

Can you identify a black & white bug that ranges in size from 4" to1". They ride together piggy-back style (smaller one on top).We live in the Central FL region. This afternoon my husband’s facewas 6" away from a pair (they were on our gate when he was attempting to close it) and they shot outa stream of liquid into his eye. He said it felt like hot pepper in his eye.Any idea what this horrible insect is? We have seen hundreds of these around our house and in other peoples yards. BTW, he rinsed his eye and it seems to be okay, but we are very interested in this nasty bug.
Thank you.
Jane Pearce

Dear Jane,
Two things. Is it possible to send a photo? Also, are you saying the insects are from 4 to 1 inches in length? that is huge, four inches. Please clarify.

Yes, I am saying the bug on bottom is usually 4" long and they eitherhave a baby on top, or perhaps "a significant other". They are black with two white lines on top. After looking at all the pictures of bugs I canfind, I would say they are in the Mantis family (but what do I know?). We called our Fl Extension Office but the bug guy had left for the day.I am sure our local guy will know what this bug is, since we have seen many around our area. If you are interested, as soon as I find out the name, I’ll let you know. Unfortunately, I can’t send you a photo at this time. I just sorta of freaked when the nasty thing spewed something out into my husband’s eye, which burned. Your website was one of the first I cameupon. What state are you in?
Thanks and will let you know what we find out locally.

Please keep us informed, and we would love to have a photo. I have never heard of mantids spewing anything. Bombadier beetles will exude a substance from the anus, but they are tiny. Certain spiders can spit venom. The position you describe is the mating position, and in many insects the male is the smaller partner. This is true of mantids. Might it be a type ofwalking stick? Try doing a web search of that. Let us know whatever you find out.
Have a nice day.

I guess the nasty bug is a "walking stick" like you suggested. Here is a picture of one that "attacked" my husband. Most of the ones in our yard have mates on top (yes, the smaller one on top is the male we have learned). We contacted our County Extension Agent and she said they consider them to be "good" bugs. We do not since they really cause a nasty burning sensation when they spray people. I also contacted Univ of FL for more info. Will keep you informed if we learn anything else about them.
Thanks. Jane

Editor’s Note: Jane continued to do research and just got the following email from the University of Florida which clarified the spraying:
Dr. Hoy forwarded your message to me. It’s the two-lined walkingstick, Anisomorpha buprestoides . In the case of the pairs, they are mating, and the smaller one on top is the male. It’s a common walkingstick in much of Florida, but you do have to be careful with them. As you already know, they will spray an acidic defensive chemical from the end of their abdomen. They often aim for the eyes, and the chemical can cause pain and temporary blindness. Pets often experience this. They feed on foliage, probably of various hardwood trees and shrubs. I’ve kept them in captivity for a while and fed them oak leaves. In the populations around the Ocala National Forest, the stripes are a much brighter shade of cream/white than in other parts of the state. If you have internet access, take a look at these websites for pictures and more info:
Lyle Buss
Insect Identification Laboratory
Department of Entomology & Nematology
University of Florida