Natural Highlights: Two-lined Walking Stick


Musk Mare and Devil's Riding Horse are just two of the fanciful names given to the Northern Two-lined Walking Stick (Anisomorpha ferruginea). It is less well-known than the Northern Walkingstick (Diapheromera femorata) which bears a striking resemblance to a twig.  Both specis belong to the Phasmatidae family of insects, which includes the many stick insects, some of which are the largest insects in the world.  Northern Two-lined Walking Sticks are usually seen quietly hanging out in low vegetation in the fall when the larger females have grown to their full length of 2-plus inches.  They are often seen in pairs, with the much smaller male riding on the back of the female.  These insects are herbivorous, consuming various kinds of leaves, and eggs are deposited in the soil.  Both the eggs and the hatchlings are presumably consumed by many larger predators. By maturity, however, Northern Two-lined Walking Sticks are capable of releasing a noxious spray from glands behing their eyes which can be very painful and irritating to the eyes of a potential predator.  Thus, bug enthusiasts should enjoy these unusual and well-camouflaged insects from a safe distance. 

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Posted by Cathy Justis at 11:36 AM