Common name(s): stick-insects, walking sticks
Description:Medium to large in size, cylindrical stick-like or flattened leaf-like. Prognathous, mandibulate. Compound eyes are small and placed laterally on the head. The fore-wings form leathery tegmina, while the hind wings are broad with a toughened fore margin. Wings are reduced in most non-tropical species. The legs are elongate for walking, cerci are one-segmented. Ocelli occur only in winged species, often only in the male of the species. The immature stages (nymphs) resemble small adults, and development is hemimetabolous.
Fun facts: Phasmatodea exist worldwide, predominantly in tropical areas. There are more than 2500 species conventionally classified into three families (although recent doubts have been raised about the legitimacy of the ranking). The largest species has a total length (including legs) of about 50cm and is from Borneo. Antennae can range from 8 to 100 segments.
Phasmatodea are phytophagous and mimic various vegetation features such as stems, leaves or twigs. In conjunction with their camouflage, Phasmatodea use anti-predator behaviours such as slow movement, asymmetrical postures, even playing dead.
sourced, in part, by The Insects: An outline of entomology, second ed. Gullan, P.J. and P.S. Cranston. Blackwell Science, Great Britain, 2000.