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Bat-Earred Walking Stick

Description:

A 15 cm long Walking Stick with a striped orange eye and a pair of tubercles on the head which resemble bat ears. Its body with its lumps, spines, pits and imitation lichen is more real than a branch itself. In the last picture is a piece of the middle leg and abdomen. The leg has small bark-like or lichen-like phalanges. Order Phasmatodea.

Habitat:

Found cavorting about in my garden at night. Semi-rural residential area, San Cristobal de Las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico 2,200 meters.

Notes:

Walking Sticks are fascinating, besides camouflage, they have other defense mechanisms such as vicious spines, regurgitation of a foul liquid, "bleeding" of unpleasant hemolymph fluids, playing dead and some even have a chemical Mace spray. They can regenerate lost limbs as nymphs when they molt and some adults have been known to stimulate molting in order to regenerate a limb. All are herbivores, feeding on plant material. Most are parthenogenic and in some species, no males have ever been found. When mating does occur, it can last for hours, days, even weeks at a time. Their seeds resemble seeds and are usually dropped to the ground. Ants are known to carry some of these eggs back to their nests to feed on the protein rich outer layer and leave the egg to continue developing in the protection of the nest. Nymphs will usually eat their shed skins after molting to hide their vulnerable presence from predators. They increase the number of ommatidia (facets) in their eyes as they molt, adults have a 10-fold increase in visual acuity over a first instar nymph. The famous swaying behavior that many Walking Sticks exhibit is now believed to help them focus better on close objects. They have carried the art of camouflage to the highest level! And did you know? Their faces have been the model for the Alien Monster in the Predator Series of Movies! https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phasmatode... https://www.desertusa.com/insects/walkin... https://www.nationalgeographic.com/anima... https://www.insectidentification.org/wal... https://www.thoughtco.com/fascinating-fa...


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3 Comments

Neil Ross
Neil Ross a month ago

And it does look like a bat too. That is amazing. Great spotting, Lauren. Incredible photos and notes, and I actually learned something about stick insects :-)

LaurenZarate
LaurenZarate a month ago

Thanks Brian. And we have an even bigger heavier species here!

Brian38
Brian38 a month ago

That's CRAZY!! Really cool spotting Lauren!

LaurenZarate
Spotted by
LaurenZarate

San Cristóbal, Chiapas, Mexico

Lat: 16.71, Long: -92.61

Spotted on Jul 10, 2019
Submitted on Jul 13, 2019

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