The stick insect – interesting facts

September 11, 2010 | In: Animal facts for kids

A “twig with legs” is one of nature’s best camouflaged insects. When you are in the woods, don’t be surprised to see a slender piece of twig suddenly come to life and slowly walk away on six long, spindly legs. This is not a miracle but a walking stick insect.

The strange appearance of the walking stick protects it from its enemies. Not only does this insect look like a twig or branch, but it’s usually the color of the branch that it’s standing on. What’s more, when these insects are alarmed they become motionless so that it is impossible to distinguish them from twigs and branches.

Apart from camouflage, the stick insect has other defenses. It can emit a foul-smelling liquid to repel an attacker, and it will shed a leg if grabbed by it. The loss of a leg is not a big problem because the walking stick can partly regenerate it. The leg won’t be as good as the first one–but it’s either leg or life!

Walking sticks are harmless leaf-eaters, but occasionally they become numerous enough to cause considerable damage to woodlands.

FAMILY: Heteronemiidae

GENUS: Diapheromera

SPECIES: femorata

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