Stick insects


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By Katie

I recently went to a big home schooling meeting with my mum for a few days in the Ardeche, in France.  We went there in our campervan.  We drove through the Auvergne where there are lots of volcanos and then Ardeche which is famous for chestnuts.  I didn’t know this before but because of the volcanic ground, the road we took is in the middle of lentil fields.  Green lentils like volcanic soil.

At this home schooling meeting a lady was giving away stick insects.  For a little while I’ve wanted stick insects so I asked her if I could have some and she said yes!

So that’s where I got my stick insects from.

My best attempt of drawing a stick insect.

Stick insect

We knew that there were going to be stick insects before we arrived.  So on our way we bought all the stuff I needed: ( a container to keep them in, kitchen role and a pair of tights to put on top of the container ).

I put the stick insects in the container with a few bramble branches covered in leaves for them to eat.  That’s the best thing to give them, and if you spray water on the leaves, it’s all they need.

Stick insect container

Container for stick insects, with my lovely roses in the background

Once we got back to the house I took them upstairs into my room and put them on my bedside table.  ( In the container obviously )! 🙂

Stick insects are very easy to look after.

Stick insect picture.

Me and my stick insect.

But I wanted to know even more about stick insects, so I spent the afternoon doing some research about them and here’s what I found.

Looking up facts about stick insects.

Research and even more research…

1- If a stick insect is caught by the leg by a predator, it can shed that leg! Then a new one grows back.

Molted skin from a stick insect

This is what was shed when my stick insect molted.

2- A stick insect has a hard exterior skin, so in order to grow it needs to shed this skin several times before reaching adulthood.  Humans are different- they can grow by increasing the size of their internal skeleton.

3- Nymphs usually eat their molted skin. Why?   Because its dead skin can attract predators and it’s also a great source of protein.

4 – Stick insects can reproduce without males. This is called “reproducing parthenogenetically “.  If there’s no male around all the eggs that hatch will be females.  And if there’s a male around, half the stick insects will be male and the other half will be female.

5 – When a female is ready to lay eggs, her underarms go bright red (well in the type of stick insect I have anyway)!

Aren’t those facts amazing!

I never knew such a small insect would be so interesting!  If you are thinking of getting stick insects they’re really easy to look after and they’re really interesting; so I would say: go for it!

Picture of stick insect close up.

Me and my stick insects now.

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