Saturday, December 11, 2010

Small twigs that walk in NZ

Saw a wee branch twig on our fence this week ... it had legs. Instantly realized it was a cool looking NZ stick insect. Probably a young male "Tectarchus salebrosus".

Shane picked him up, but he was moving around quite a bit so couldn't get a great photo. An adult of this species is pictured below from
NZ Land Care Research:

Tectarchus salebrosus

Forest phantoms

"Stick insects belong to the insect order Phasmatodea – the name comes from the Greek word ‘phasm’, meaning phantom. The order includes about 3,000 species worldwide, with most diversity around the tropics. New Zealand’s temperate climate supports more than 20 described species of stick insect."

"Stick insects look and behave like twigs or leaves to avoid being eaten. Also known as walking sticks, they come in a wide range of colours, textures and sizes, although they are all well disguised in their natural habitat. Their main predators are birds that hunt by sight. As a result of natural selection, and pressure from birds and other hunters, stick insects have evolved a suite of extraordinary features, structures and behaviours."

Behaviour and habitat
"During the day most stick insects sit where they are least visible. Although some eat, they generally remain still, move very slowly, or sway like leaves in the wind. At dusk and at night they are more active, seeking out their preferred leaves to eat. Adults of the small spiny stick insect (genus Micrarchus) often move down to the base of the ribbonwood trees they feed on. They hide among the fallen twigs and leaves, while green nymphs of this species stay among the foliage."
Some people around the world keep these insects as pets? Umm, nope, I'll pass! They are neat looking though... great camouflage

No comments:

Post a Comment