Currently viewing the category: "Walkingsticks"

Subject:  Stick Insect
Geographic location of the bug:  AU, NSW, Sydney
Date: 11/13/2017
Time: 06:47 AM EDT
Narrowed it down between a Goliath, crown or a titan.
Approx 15cm long not including legs.
How you want your letter signed:  Jess

Stick Insect:  Adult male Ctenomorpha marginipennis

Dear Jess,
Your individual appears to have very long antennae.  The Goliath Stick Insect pictured on Brisbane Insects has very short antennae.  According to Oz Animals, “The Crown Stick Insect is found in coastal Queensland and the Northern Territory” and it also appears to have short antennae.  Titan Stick Insect images on FlickR also have short antennae.  Using the long antennae as a diagnostic feature, and based on the slim body of your individual, we would entertain that this might be a Dark-Winged Stick Insect,
Mesaner sarpedon, which is pictured on the Brisbane Insect site.  The Atlas of Living Australia does not have any images, but there is a sighting documented near Sydney.  Unfortunately we cannot find any information on the size of the Dark-Winged Stick Insect.  Perhaps a Phasmid expert will write in with a correction or an affirmation.

Thank you very much. I’ll get onto finding out more!

A reader comments:
I have received a reply from an entomology group on Facebook and they seemed very sure on this.
Willow Hook

Comments from an Entomology Group

Subject:  Is this a walking stick or???
Geographic location of the bug:  Florida Ocala area
Date: 11/11/2017
Time: 07:39 AM EDT
I have found many of these this fall around my porch and a few under my mobile home. I am worried because I need to work under the mobile and wonder if a bite or sting is possible. How do I get rid of them?
How you want your letter signed:  Freaked Out

Mating Muskmares

Dear Freaked Out,
These are indeed mating Walkingsticks.  Commonly called Muskmares, adult Southern Two-Lined Walkingsticks,
Anisomorpha buprestoides, are frequently encountered as mating pairs.  Of the species, BugGuide indicates:  “Three color forms, two of them only found in limited areas:  White form, only found around Ocala National Forest, Orange form, only found around Archbold Biological Station.”  It appears you have a small white form male (you are in Ocala) mating with an orange female, so perhaps the orange form is increasing its range.  Though they do not sting nor bite, they do have an effective defense mechanism that should concern you.  According to Featured Creatures:  “this species is capable of squirting a strong-smelling defensive spray that is painfully irritating to the eyes and mucous membranes.”  According to Wilderness & Environmental Medicine:  “this phasmid’s intriguing, elongated body shape makes its existence well known, most are unaware of its chemical defense mechanism for warding off predators. Anisomorpha buprestoides, a common walkingstick in the southeastern United States, has the ability to eject an offensive spray from its thorax with pronounced accuracy. Although birds, spiders, and reptiles are likely their main nemeses, they take no pity on threatening mammals, including reported cases involving canines and humans. The arthropods target the eyes and have caused documented ocular injury ranging from conjunctivitis to corneal ulceration.” 

Subject:  Weird Walking Stick Scorpion
Geographic location of the bug:  Guatemala City, Guatemala Zone 15
Date: 09/17/2017
Time: 11:03 AM EDT
I have seen 3 of these in my garage lately. I would like to know what it is and if it is dangerous for my toddlers.
How you want your letter signed:  Thank you so much!


We found what appears to be the same species of Walkingstick on Project Noah where it is identified as “Autolyca elena Gorochov & Berezin, 2008″ referred to as a Scorpion mimic:  “This is a walking stick which is imitating a scorpion. It is shiny black and carries the tail end curled up over the abdomen. It is remarkably like a scorpion in general appearance and behavior. However, it is phytophagous and not a predator nor can it sting. It also has extremely long antennae which are banded orange and black and of course, only 3 pair of legs. This is a male.”  There are also images on iNaturalist.  Some Stick Insects can spray chemical defenses, but we do not know if this is one of those species.

Thank you so much!  I am a bit more at ease with the fact that it does not sting!

Subject:  What is this?
Geographic location of the bug:  Placencia, Belize
Date: 09/09/2017
Time: 01:07 AM EDT
This is big, what is it?
How you want your letter signed:  AP

Stick Insect

Dear AP,
This is a Katydid, and it appears to be a species that mimics bark to help camouflage it from its enemies.  It resembles this Katydid from Panama that Katydid expert Piotr Naskrecki identified as
Acanthodis curvidens.  There is an image on Visuals Unlimited that is identified as that species as well.  We will attempt to contact Piotr Naskrecki for verification.

Piotr Naskrecki provides a correction.
Hi Daniel,
Not only is this not the same species, it is not even the same order. This animal is a phasmid (stick insect) Prisopus sp. (Phasmida: Pseudophasmatidae). These animals are chemically protected and produce a strong, repellant smell when disturbed.

Hello Daniel,
Still a little confused, The Prisopus actually only had 2 legs on each side while ours has 3, does that make a difference? Please advise.
Thank you,

All insects have six legs, but some insects position themselves in such a way as to conceal body parts, including legs.

Subject: What’s this bug?
Location: Coastal South Carolina, inland about 8 miles
August 17, 2017 6:58 pm
I have seen these around the outside of my home always during the hot summer months, and usually at night. It appears to carry offspring on its back. It has long antennas on the front. Please tell me what this bug is.
Signature: Kristi Baker

Mating Muskmares

Dear Kristi,
What you have mistaken for an offspring is actually a mate.  These are Striped Walkingsticks in the genus
Anisomorpha, sometimes called Muskmares because they are frequently found mating, and the larger female Muskmare is able to carry her diminutive mate on her back.  According to BugGuide:  “Members of this genus can deliver a chemical spray to the eyes that can cause corneal damage.” 

Subject: Never seen this bug before
Location: Shepherd tx
June 22, 2017 4:38 am
I need to know what this is and if it’s dangerous
Signature: I don’t know

Mating Two Striped Walkingsticks

These are mating Two Striped Walkingsticks, commonly called Muskmares, though theoretically only the larger female would be a Muskmare, while the smaller male is her diminutive stallion.  Caution should be exercised when approaching Two Striped Walkingsticks, because according to BugGuide:  “Members of this genus can deliver a chemical spray to the eyes that can cause corneal damage.”