So, I finally got a good quality video of one of my Spiny leaf insects (Extatosoma tiaratum) hatching. I’m so happy to finally catch this amazing event. I’ve always wondered how such a gangly (yet still small) insect comes from such a tiny egg. You’ll notice that the legs almost seem pliable at first, which probably explains their ability to be folded up in such a tiny space. A lot like humans, it seems! The action takes place near the bottom third of the screen. Be sure to click on the ‘enlarge screen’ tab to really get a close-up look. And don’t worry, the egg came off of his/her foot eventually. 🙂
I set up my laptop camera (all the extended-video capabilities at the moment) to try and capture one of my stick insects emerging from an egg. After hoooooouuuurrrsss, I finally captured a really bad 33-second video of one tiny little Spiny Leaf insect (Extatosoma tiaratum) emerging! If you divide the screen up into fours, the action happens in the bottom left of the screen. (You may have to watch a few times.)
I’ll be doing some more videos in the next few days, and hopefully will get a much clearer one. My Goliath Stick insects (Eurycnema goliath) are also hatching at a pretty good rate, so will probably see some of those as well.
Today one of my Spiny Leaf insect (Extatosoma tiaratum) eggs hatched!! I got the first ones in January from my captive-raised females, so it’s been a long wait. Was very surprised to see this adorable baby in the conatainer this morning. I didn’t get very many eggs before the adults passed, but hoping they are all viable.
I was so excited to find my male Spiny Leaf had done his final moult into adulthood. I have to admit, the massive size and wings were a bit of a shock. And since this is my first time raising them, it was a real treat to see.
Here are some pictures. Sorry for the quality, I took them on my phone. I’m going to do a proper shoot soon.
Hi everyone! I am SO excited to introduce you all to our three new family members!
What are these beautiful, crazy-looking creatures, you ask?
These are Spiny Leaf insects from the insect order Phasmatodea. These guys feed on a variety of eucalyptus leaves, as well as wattle trees and rose bushes. Apparently, if you feed them the latter two, they will turn a beautiful shade of green whereas, the eucalyptus, will keep them brown.
When faced with a ‘predator’ (like me) they will sway their body to resemble a leaf blowing in the wind. It’s kind of cute, that even when I’m holding them, they will do it. And as you can see from picture #2, they are dedicated to their role; sometimes freezing in pose for quite some time. I noticed, that even while at rest in the cage, they will have one or two legs up in the air as if it were a branch.
The female has the ability to bear offspring even without the help of a male companion. This is called parthenogenesis. I discussed this topic, regarding Goliath Stick insects, in a blog post HERE. So, even when they do not actually mate, the female will still be able to have babies– although they will all be female and clones of the mother.
Perhaps the most interesting thing about these insects is that when the female lays eggs they look like seeds with a knob on the end. Then ants, thinking they are seeds, carry them to their nest, eat only the knob and leave the rest. When the babies hatch, they even resemble ants and are able to move amongst the colony unnoticed and eventually leave.
The adult of this species can reach anywhere from 15 to 30cm! So, stay tuned to see the progress of these little babies.
And just in case any of you are ‘insectphobic’, here are a couple pictures of my girls holding them. 😉 (Please ignore the blur, they were being ‘leaves’.)
Before I go, I want to ask for your help to name these three. At this point, I’m assuming two males and a female but hey, maybe we can come up with some neutral names to cover all three. Think outside the box. Sure, Larry, Moe and Curly (get it, Curly?) are good but I like the unique…obviously.
Also, to support my Insect Education program for local schools, please visit this link and donate whatever you can to bring insect education to local Queensland schools.