New Guinea Walking Sticks


ORDER: Phasmatodea

FAMILY: Eurycanthinae

GENUS: Eurycantha

SPECIES: calcarata

DESCRIPTION:
Brownish in color. Males can be a glossy brown while females are greenish-brown. Can attain 8 inches in length. Females are larger than males. The female's abdomen comes to a point which is the ovipositor.

GEOGRAPHICAL RANGE AND HABITAT:
Foliage and ground litter of forested areas of Papua New Guinea.

DIET:
Leaves.

LIFE CYCLE/SOCIAL STRUCTURE:
Mainly nocturnal. Eggs are laid below ground and nymphs hatch in 4 months. Young stick insects shed and replace their skin periodically until they reach adult size. Lost appendages can be replaced during these molts. Life span is one year to 18 months.

SPECIAL ADAPTATIONS:
Camouflage as a stick or leaf is their main defense but they may also spray a foul-smelling liquid from glands in the thorax. Males have a large spine on the femur of their hindmost legs and in a defensive position will lift abdomen and rear legs high. These spines are also used in competition with other males.

INTERPRETIVE INFORMATION:
Also known as Giant Stick Insect or Thorny Devil.

OUR ANIMALS:
Several in the Children's Zoo.

STATUS IN WILD:
Not endangered, but loss of habitat may be a problem.

BIBLIOGRAPHY:

  1. Internet: Toronto Zoo; Fort Wayne Zoo; bugs in cyberspace; exotics.talktalk
  2. Adam Fink, Oakland Zoo keeper.
  3. Schlager, Neil, ed. Grizmek's Animal Life Encyclopedia: Vol. 3. 2004. Gale Group CL:08

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