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Thursday, 24 January 2008

Stick insects -so interesting!

On 31 December I wrote a post Animals of Campania: Monster without name
where asked you if you know this insect.

Today finally I know it's name. One of the magazines about life in a village published it's photo and an article. I wanted to know more about it, and here the very surprising things I read.

Stick insect or walking stick so as the leave insects are relatives of mantis. They are from the family Phyliidae and live mostly in tropics. There are 3000 described species today and nobody knows how many of not described are there, even from those that are in museums! In Europe there are about 20 species, 2 of them I've seen in my garden.

One of the sticks is the longest insect in the world and is a female Pharnacia serratipes that measured 555 mm. Other, Pharnacia kirbyi, from Indonesia (have to ask well known to you Berry, author of the post about orangutans: how can he live with these neighbours?) arrives till 36 cm.

These insects are vegetarians.
They eat leaves of one branch. And are SOOOOOOO LAZY to move to kill themselves with hunger but do not move in an other place. The only period when they move is when they go out from the egg and look for their home. It lasts some days.

Many species have only females.
They can make their kids with a male too, but if the girl do not find a male, she makes eggs without male. In this case she gives life to clones, all females. The female makes eggs all the life, 3-12 months (if I understood good). They are similar to seems or excrement. And even the eggs are too slow: they need about 2-18 months to develop.

Imagine, there are persons that raise them!!!!!
And there are even FARMS cultivating them!

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