Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Stick insect

A friend in Canberra has a stick insect in residence on his North facing exterior wall.  It is quite a weird beast - far more stick-like than I had imagined.  Its about 20cm from tip to tip.  I had also though that the final 8cm of the animal were a tail, but then we noticed:
  • we could only spot 4 legs rather the customary 6; but
  • the tail appears to split into 2 with minimal provocation; and thus concluded
  • that the "tail" is actually the last pair of legs
The previous paragraph  is a nice story, but unfortunately is totally wrong!  The third pair of legs are held forward and are what looks like antennae.  

A very reliable friend has contributed the following offline "... the stick insect you photographed is most likely Margined-winged Stick Insect Ctenomorpha marginipennis – appears to be the only beast of this size (20cm) in the area. The tail split indicates a female. However, I am no expert on these things so could be mistaken. There is a field guide to stick insects which I have, but they are difficult to identify without having the animal in front of you."

Here are a couple of images.  If anyone can quote Latin about the beast I would welcome a comment.

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