Driftless Prairies: Native Habitat Restoration

Nature inspires awe!

Phasmida (Walkingsticks)

Walkingsticks are found in most every habitat. There are around 3,000 species; all are nocturnal and plant eating. Species in this order come in a variety of sizes with the females typically being larger. They will vary somewhat in color as they use color to blend into their environments.

Diapheromeridae – Walkingsticks
Diapheromera femorata – NorthernWalkingstick

This family is the most common in northeastern United States. You can find this interesting insect in brown or green colors and sometimes they will change color. One of their defenses is to lose an appendage, perhaps that is what happened to the green one we found on the front porch. The younger walkingsticks can replace this appendage when they molt, but the adults don’t have that option.

Females lay their eggs on the woodland floor and then their maternal duties are finished. The eggs will overwinter in the leaf litter. Sometimes ants will take the eggs to their nests, keeping them safe. Of course, they don’t do this for “free!” This service is rewarded by some tasty edible outgrowths on the eggs. The eggs hatch in the spring and the nymphs become adults during the summer and fall.

For more info:
Check out BugGuide
Forest Insect and Disease Pamphlet
Wow! Anything you’d ever want to know about Phasmids can be found at the Phasmid Study Group