Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Walking Sticks

I don't mean the type that serves as an aid to walking either - I'm taking about the insects.  Some of the largest insects are walking sticks.  They are found in tropical and subtropical regions around the world.  Although they don't bite, they do have defenses to protect themselves from pretadators.  As their name implies they can act like a stick, even falling to the ground and playing dead for long periods of time.  Some walking sticks may also release an irritating chemical (can make a person's eyes water if they touch them after getting the substance on them).  Numerous studies have also shown that a male and female paired are in a better position to fight together - they combine their efforts to fend off attackers, allowing both to live longer. 

This pair hung out at our front door this week - literally on the door facing, so we got a front row seat to their mating show. 
walking stick female (large) with male
Obviously they are working on producing fertilized eggs, and they were in this position for several hours.  I've also read that staying coupled together for longer periods is for their benefit as well - more eggs.  According to one of my bug books - mating should be in August - well since the weather lately is so unusual - guess everything else in the cycle of life is a little off. 

I had grown up thinking that the female will then eat the male, but I couldn't confirm that during my really quick research confirmation.  Walking sticks are also considered decent pets - think I'll pass.  I'm not squeamish about bugs, but I think some wild things should be left wild.  Walking sticks aren't seen as often, so I tend to think that we are killing them during our attempts at mosquito and other bug/insect control.  Whenever I do see one hanging out on an area that could be dangerous for them - I do relocate them (moved one from the horse cross-tie area just this week). 

No comments:

Post a Comment