Sunday, January 11, 2009

Stick Bugs

I was very happy when my sister, Rose, bought me two stick bugs for my birthday in October, so these first few photos of them on my blog are long overdue.

They have already grown to probably twice their original length, in these past couple of months, and their colours have become much darker. I noticed a while back, a skin molt in the bottom of the cage. But then the other night, I discovered this spooky looking skin molt hanging from the top of the cage. I was able to snap a few photos of it, before it fell.

Molted skin from a stick bug
My sister bought me a male and female. The males are not really necessary for reproduction, since the females can reproduce asexually if no males are around, but then I understand that then the offspring are pretty much genetic copies of the mother, so sexual reproduction provides greater genetic variety in the offspring.

The eggs will drop to the bottom of the cage, and if kept moist (neither too wet nor too dry), they will hatch into tiny stick bugs. My dear sister thoughtfully also brought me two eggs so I would be able to recognize them when they come. So I'm ready and waiting, and watching the bottom of the cage (I have them in a reptile terrarium, with glass doors which open at the front, and a mesh top for good air circulation).

When the stick bugs are at rest (which seems to be all the time!), they extend their two front legs directly in front of themselves, and are very twiglike, as in this photo:
They are very gentle, and although a bit tickly at first, very easy to handle. When you coax them onto your hand, they may walk a bit, or more often will just position themselves, motionless, until you coax them to move again. They eat only leaves from blackberries (or other brambles), which I fortunately have more than enough fresh supply encroaching on my yard from many sides. Even at that, I can hardly see the small amounts chewed at the edges of the leaves. So even if these were in the garden, they would have minimal impact.
Stick bugs on hand
Please feel free to click any of the photos for a closer view.


Anonymous said...

Nice photo's. Can't wait to see the babies. Nice set of tings too. You must have a very generous husband.

O.I.M said...

this gets my vote for most original gift ever.

Garden Lily said...

Irena - Yes, it is a pretty unconventional gift, but I guess I'm a pretty unconventional sister, being bug-crazy since I was a small child.

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