My female Giant Northern Stick Insect finally molted to adult. Also known as the Wuelfing’s Stick insect (Acrophyllas wuelfingi), this big beauty is one of Australia’s largest stick insects, with the female of the species reaching up to 210mm (8+ inches)!
Here’s a picture of her when I first got her. I’m guessing she was at least 3rd instar (3rd stage of development after two molts).
And here she is now, just 5 short months later…
Just like other stick insects, Wuelfing’s are parthenogenetic, which means the females do not need a male to lay viable eggs. All offspring from these eggs will, however, be clones of the mother.
These beautiful creatures will live for up to a year, and can produce hundreds of eggs in their lifetime. I will be doing a follow up post addressing stick insect eggs and their care.
Any questions? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Tonight I was in the insect room (yes, I have an entire room for them) cleaning the cages and making sure everyone was fed. I decided to move my “video” cage full of various eggs to a smaller container to move a huntsman to the larger one. I wasn’t really expecting anything to hatch at 9pm at night (they usually hatch between 5-10am) so, imagine my surprise when I looked down and saw a Violet-winged Stick insect hatching! I quickly grabbed my phone and started video taping. The video is nearly 3 minutes long, and at the very end I switch it off to help the insect get loose of the egg casing (per my worried daughter’s wishes), so rest assured, everything turned out okay.
This is what the Violet-wing (also known as the Spur-Legged Stick insect) looks like as nymph.
And this is what they look like as adults.
These stick insects, like most, feed on eucalyptus leaves. The males are able to fly, but the females do not. These insects occur on the east coast of Australia. They get their common name obviously from the colour on their wings, but their other common name ‘spur legged’ is from the distinctive spurs on the male’s thicker hind legs.