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The stick bug is a type of insect that actually looks like a stick. It uses camouflage to look like the sticks or branches of the trees where it lives. There is also a leaf type bug that looks like leaves. Together they make up the order of insects called Phasmatodea. There are around 3,000 species of insects in this order.
How big to they get?
Stick bugs vary in size. Some are as small as half an inch long while others can grow to just over a foot long. Counting their outstretched legs, the longest females can reach up to 22 inches long!
Stick bugs are some of the best camouflaged animals in the animal kingdom. Some can change colors to match the tree or leaf in the background. Others not only look like sticks but have other features that mimic the branches of trees. Many also rock back and forth to look like a twig blowing in the wind.
Some stick bugs have wings. They may be bright colored. When a predator comes near the stick bug they may open their bright wings and then close them again to confuse the predator.
Are they defenseless?
Stick bugs have interesting defenses including fighting back and swiping at predators with their long legs. Some may pretend to be dead, while others will drop or release an entire limb in order to escape from a predator. Still another type of stick bug will release a foul odor in order to scare off predators.
What do Stick bugs eat?
Stick bugs are herbivores and mostly eat leaves from trees and shrubs.
Where to they live?
Stick bugs are found throughout the world in warmer climates, especially in the tropics. They like forests and grasslands. Some are nocturnal and stay still during the day, feeding and moving about at night.
Are they good pets?
Some people keep stick bugs as pets. The most common type of stick bug used as a pet is the Indian Stick insect. It is fairly easy to care for and can be fed leaves such as lettuce and ivy. It needs a fairly tall enclosed glass area.
Fun Facts about Stick bugs
- Females are generally larger than males.
- Females can reproduce without the presence of males.
- Baby stick bugs are called nymphs.
- They are a favorite meal of many animals including birds, primates, bats, and lizards.
- They are sometimes called walkingsticks.
- Many stick bugs eat their old skin after they molt.
- They have a lifespan of 1 to 2 years.
For more about insects:
Insects and Arachnids
Black Widow Spider
Yellow Jacket Wasp
Back to Bugs and Insects
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