Stick Insects

Khao SokStick insects are strictly vegetarian.

Walking sticks are found primarily in the temperate and tropical regions. These creatures spend their days motionless hanging from leaves and branches waiting until dark to feed.

They can produce young without mating – some populations consist entirely of mature females and their offspring, all exact replicas of each other.

The walking stick has the unusual ability of partial regeneration. If a leg is lost or damaged it will grow back after several successive molts. By molting, or shedding its skin, the walking stick is able to grow to an astounding size in just a few months. Once the skin is shed the walking stick eats its own molt.

Adulthood is achieved after five or six months, and adults live a further six months or more.

Stick insects blend into their surroundings to fool predators. Their stem like bodies and muted colors make them almost invisible among the foliage of their food plants.

Stick insects sway to imitate the effect of wind on vegetation. If disturbed, the insect may drop to the ground like a dead twig.

Each stick insect egg may stay on the forest floor for up to three years, protected by its seed like appearance and hard shell. Eventually the young insect emerges from its hinged shell.

The Southeast Asian stick insect, Pharnacia serratipes, is, at 13 inches, the longest insect in the world