Tuesday, October 04, 2011
Stick Bug Jealousy
Last week my daughter brought her small cage of stick bugs to display to the whole school, so the night before, I cleaned out the cage for her, and set up fresh blackberry leaves. We were a bit concerned to see a male and female joined together, since this sort of thing would raise unnecessary questions from the younger kids. As I removed the lid which they were clinging to, a second male approached from behind and climbed onto the first (successful) male's back. I figured it was just because I had disturbed them, and expected them to soon settle. Instead, I saw something I didn't expect. The second male appeared to bite the first male on the leg. The first male recoiled slightly, which confirmed to me that it was actually a bite which I had witnessed. Then he bit again.
Normally, I would have gone for my Blackberry, to be ready to record in case it happened again. But it was late at night (which always seems to be the case when I am cleaning their cages), and I wanted to get done before I got too tired. So I never did see whether the biting continued. But when I returned the lid a few minutes later, it appeared that the first male was still in position with the female, and the second male was still waiting nearby, perhaps jealously.