Bug of the Month February 2011: Mating Muskmares

Unknown Insect
Location: Sebring, FL, USA
January 5, 2011 9:46 am
Pictures were taken Dec 3, 2010.
Early afternoon.
Just wondering what they are.
Male and female.
Thank you.
Signature: Jack Nimon

Muskmare and her Stallion

mating Muskmares, a species of Walkingstick.  Be careful.  They spray a noxious substance with amazing accuracy.

Thanks very much. I’ve seen many in the area.
Jack Nimon

Muskmare and her Stallion

Hi again Jack,
We just fired off a quick response to you because we didn’t have time to write a lengthy posting before rushing out of the house to save the Southern California Black Walnut (Juglans californica) Woodland.  We love your one photo of the Muskmare and mate and we couldn’t think of a more romantic photo in recent memory that could serve as the Bug of the Month for February when it will run as a feature on our front page.  Some species of Walkingsticks or Phasmids reproduce parthenogenetically, meaning that young female Walkingsticks can develop from unfertilized eggs so they are genetically identical to the mother.  This is an example of a natural clone and it produces a race with no genetic diversity.  Your Muskmares or Two Lined Walkingsticks,
Anisomorpha buprestoides, are capable of spraying a noxious fluid from the leg joints with amazing accuracy.  There are numerous accounts of them spraying the unwary right in the eye.

I do have more pictures from different angles and at a better resolution if needed. I’d be honored to have the picture posted as bug of the month.
Jack Nimon

Send a few more images and we will see if we need to update the posting which already looks great.  It will undergo minor alteration for the Bug of the Month.

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