Walking sticks Facts

Walking sticks Facts
Walking sticks are diverse group of insects that can be found in tropical and subtropical parts of the world (only few species live in temperate areas). Walking sticks inhabit forests and grasslands and spend their life on the bushes and small trees. Thanks to unusual morphology, walking sticks are popular in the industry of exotic pets. These insects are widespread and numerous in the wild (they are not on the list of endangered species).
Interesting Walking sticks Facts:
Walking sticks can reach from 1 to 14 inches in length. Females are larger than males.
Walking sticks can be brown, black or green colored. Some species have lichen-like markings on the body, while others can change the color of the body to blend with the colors of their environment.
Walking sticks have either cylindrical, stick-shaped or flattened, leaf-like body. Shape of the body provides camouflage (they can be hardly distinguished from the twigs and leaves).
Walking sticks have one pair of antennas on top of the head, three pairs of legs and two pairs of wings. Some species of walking sticks are wingless.
Walking sticks are nocturnal creatures (active during the night).
Walking sticks lay motionless on the leaves and branches during the day. They often move back and forth on the wind to mimic the trembling of leaves and branches on the breeze.
Walking sticks feed on leaves and stem of various plants.
Walking sticks are able to detach one of the legs when they need to escape from the predators. Missing limb regenerates during the next molting phase.
Walking sticks are also able to release bad-tasting liquid, foul-smelling substance or to emit chemical spray that functions like tear gas which can induce transient blindness in predators. Some walking sticks pretend to be dead until danger is gone.
Natural enemies of walking sticks are birds and insectivorous mammals.
Females are able to produce offspring without assistance of males (parthenogenetically). All walking sticks developed from unfertilized eggs are born as females. They represent genetic copy of their mother.
Females produce 100 to 1.200 eggs and scatter them randomly on the ground. Most predators avoid eggs because they look like miniature brown seed.
Eggs are covered with nutritious capsule that ants like to eat. They often collect and transport eggs into the anthills. After removal of the capsule, ants discard eggs in the "garbage section" of the anthill, where eggs safely complete their development.
Life cycle of walking sticks consists of three developmental stages: egg, nymph and adult insect. Nymphs hatch during the spring. They look like miniature, wingless version of adults. Nymphs molt several times and eat discarded cuticle to re-absorb some of the proteins.
Walking sticks have short lifespan. Nymph transforms into adult after 5 to 6 months. Adult insect usually lives 6 months.

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