black-spined stick insect

Knowing how happy I am to find stick insects, B₂ called me outside this morning to have a look at this one, whose exact like we had not seen before:

large spiky stick insect

We have lots of the smooth green ones, and plenty of the brown variants of those, and occasionally some pretty fearsome looking brown and spiky ones.

But there’s so much variation of colour, size and texture that even today’s one probably belongs to one of our previously seen species.

It was probably a member of Genus Acanthoxyla, I thought after I had a good poke about in the Stick Insect pages at Landcare Research.

I particularly like her spines (it’s easily a “she”, because apparently no males have ever been observed for species in this genus, and it would be pretty unlikely for me to be the one finding the exception):

large spiky stick insect

And also I like the rather nice biomechanical look of her segments, and the variegated colour patches which taken in the whole really contribute to the overall camouflage effect:

large spiky stick insect

And then there’s the sheer alienness of her gaze, her incomprehensible mouth, and the rather pretty red patches on her forelimbs:

large spiky stick insect

Yep. Weird. But cool.

I’m so happy we have wee beasties like this around our house.

raoidean: nature insecta stick-insects
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