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    Rearing & Care of Stick Insects

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    Metal Maniac
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    Rearing & Care of Stick Insects

    Post by Metal Maniac on Fri 03 Apr 2009, 13:20

    Rearing & Care of Stick Insects

    Basically, Stick Insect eggs are laid in three different ways. Some species just drop their eggs to the bottom of the cage, others glue their eggs to twigs, leaves, or the side of the cage, and a few species carefully bury their eggs in damp sand or peat.

    i)Projection to the ground. Species which just drop their eggs are E. tiaratum C. morosus, Baculum, A. wuelfingi, West Indian 'Warty', A. prasina, P.serratipes, Aplopus sp, 8.rossius, A. buprestoides, and Phyllium sps. These will be found amongst the frass when cleaning out the cage.

    ii)Attachment to twigs etc. Species which glue eggs are C.spinosus, and S, sipylus. Take care when throwing away dead leaf/twig matter which has been in the cage with these species. Make a careful inspection to remove eggs.

    iii)Burying. Species which bury eggs are E. calcarata, H. dilatata, and H. echinata. The females have special ovipositors for this purpose.

    Orixines macklottii can be said to be an exception to these as sometimes they glue their eggs to twigs, and sometimes they bury their eggs in small cracks etc. Stick Insect eggs are laid singly, and are usually sold by the dozen. When you receive them, they will be wrapped up dry in a tube or similar container. They will have to be transferred from here to a humid environment. Baculum sp, or C. morosus do not seem to need moisture to be triggered to hatch. Prepare a 'Vitalite' type margarine tub by putting a thin layer of compost on the bottom and wetting it until R sticks together (cake texture). The eggs should be scattered or stirred into the damp peat. It is important not to make the peat saturated or very wet or else the eggs will drown. Keep the container at a temperature of about 70 - 75 OF. Most eggs take around 4 - 6 months to hatch, however, Baculum sp and sipylus is known to hatch in as little as 3 weeks. Mould is a nuisance to Phasmid eggs and careful control has to be taken with this. Drying or wetting the peat more can stop mould. Giving R a good stir also has the same effect.


    Nymphs-

    It is wise to check your container of eggs every day. One day you will open ft all but to find newly hatched Phasmids waiting to be transferred to a tank containing bramble leaves. If you have been successful in the incubation, a high percentage vvill hatch well. Sometimes R is depending on the species how well the eggs hatch. 1 have found that most sticks will eat bramble well. Even if they are said to eat other food plants, they always seem to do best on bramble. A humid environment is the general rule. Acantoxyla prasina seem to like R dry with plenty of fresh air after initial feeding. The nymphs will progress through several nymphal stages. Usually on moulting, the nymphs will eat the old skin, and it is wise to let them do so. Some species only have females and these are termed as being parthenogenetic. Eggs which are laid by an unmated female will hatch into nymphs which will in time become females which will also do this. Other species have both males and females, and most species have many differences which make this apparent. Sexes are apparent at usually 4/5 instar. Ratios of sexes can vary. Some years you can end up with many more males than females, and at other times the reverse can be true. 1 is essential that if large species are kept, that large tanks and cages are provided. There is nothing more disappointing than having reared a large nymph to nearly adult and having R bungle its last shed, becoming a cripple. one must also provide an adequate supply of bramble leaves for such larger species. Heteropteryx, and Eurycantha both have very large appetites. fresh food often, even if some of the old still looks OK is a good rule.


    Adults.

    At the last skin change, the Phasmid will become adult. This is to say that no more sheds will be necessary during the rest of its life. Some species will gain wings, and R is very important to provide enough height for them to hang and inflate their wings. Other species will not gain wings, but ft will be evident that they are adult by the size of ovipositors, legs, joints etc. They always become very much more robust at the final moult. After about 4 hours from the final moult, the insect will appear large but have a very flat, abdomen. It will also be unwise to handle R as R will be empty of food. After commencing feeding, the insect will fatten up, and will begin to mature. Maturity is complete after about 2 - 3 weeks, and the insects will now begin breeding. Female insects abdomens vvill become fattened, and they will start laying eggs in the manner specific to that species. Males will begin mating with the females, if we are talking about a species having both sexes. In some species you will observe pairings, however, failure to observe pairings does not necessarily mean infertile eggs. Egg laying starts about 4 weeks after reaching adult, and will continue until the insect dies. There is only one harmful species of Phasmid as far as 1 am aware, and this is A. buprestoides. "Stick Insects" by J.T. Clerk. outlines this in detail. This species sprays a harmful defence fluid from glands from behind the head. Most species of Phasmid are very easily reared in the home. Bramble becomes a little problematic in the winter, however, some can always be found in sheltered places like woods.

      Current date/time is Thu 13 Dec 2018, 08:07