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a sticky situation!

By CarolG  
Clonopsis gallica is more commonly known as a stick insect. Stick insects use camouflage and mimicry to great effect. As their name suggests, they look so much like sticks or other bits of plant that they blend effortlessly into their backgrounds as a form of defence. In some species the mimicry starts even before they are born, as their eggs resemble seeds. I found this fella, about 6-7" body length, at the bottom of my empty pool yesterday morning, unable to get a grip on the smooth tiles to climb out.

Some interesting facts about stick insects:

1. Stick insects can shed and regenerate their limbs to escape attacks by predators.
Should a bird or other predator grab hold of a stick insect's leg, it can still make an easy escape. The stick insect simply gives up the leg, using a special muscle to break it off at a weak joint. Juvenile stick insects will regenerate the missing limb the next time they molt. In some cases, adult stick insects can even force themselves to molt again to regain a lost leg.
2. Stick insects can reproduce parthenogenetically, without the need for males.
Stick insects are a nation of Amazons, able to reproduce almost entirely without males. Unmated females produce eggs that become more females. When a male does manage to mate with a female, there's a 50/50 chance their offspring will be male. A captive female stick insect can produce hundreds of all-female offspring without ever mating. There are species of stick insects for which scientists have never found any males.
3. Stick insects not only look like sticks, they act like them, too.
Stick insects are so named for their effective camouflage among the woody plants where they feed. They're typically brown, black, or green, with stick-shaped bodies that help them blend in as they perch on twigs and branches. Some even wear lichen-like markings to make their disguise more authentic. Stick insects imitate twigs swaying in the wind by rocking back and forth as they move.
4. Not all stick insects are boring brown.
Some stick insects can change color, like a chameleon, depending on the background where they're at rest. Stick insects may also wear bright colors on their wings, but keep these flamboyant features tucked away. When a bird or other predator approaches, the stick insect will flash the vibrant wings, then hide them again, leaving the predator confused and unable to relocate its target.
5. Stick insects hold the record for longest insects in the world.
In 2008, a newly discovered stick insect species from Borneo broke the record for longest insect (which had previously been held by another stick insect, Pharnacia serratipes). The Chan's megastick, Phobaeticus chain, measures an incredible 22 with legs extended, with a body length of 14.

Tags: Wildlife Nature Macro General Close-up Close-up and macro Stick insect Wildlife and nature Humour and fun

Voters: dven, helenlinda, bagman and 69 more

Readers' Choice Awards are given to photos that get over 30 votes


dven Plus
15 42 United Kingdom
20 Nov 2011 6:45AM
I cant believe how many creepie crawlies you have over there, Three nice images.

helenlinda Plus
13 367 22 United Kingdom
20 Nov 2011 6:57AM
Very well captured Carol Smile
cjl47 12 5 3 England
20 Nov 2011 7:15AM
Very good set. #2 especially, as it really shows how much it looks like a stick.
Lets see, a stick insect that doesn't need sex. Did I ever mention my ex wife .....
KarenFB Plus
14 5.5k 179 England
20 Nov 2011 7:15AM
Wow! Not only a brilliant image, but a fascinating write up - thanks Carol! Smile (Brilliant)
LynneJoyce Plus
12 22 101 United Kingdom
20 Nov 2011 7:24AM

Quote:Wow! Not only a brilliant image, but a fascinating write up - thanks Carol! Smile (Brilliant)

Agreed, great early morning reading and three fascinating portraits.
prabhusinha 12 5 5 India
20 Nov 2011 7:25AM
Hats up to you & your quest for nature.
20 Nov 2011 8:23AM
good write up Carol thanks many facts there i had no knowledge off (like most things) today i think V2 gets the vote as it shows the stick being a stick as the write up suggests excellent detail in V2

Graham GrinGrinGrin
viscostatic 14 47 9 United Kingdom
20 Nov 2011 8:36AM
Great images Carol and fascinating information too.

moiral 10 12 Scotland
20 Nov 2011 8:37AM
What a very interesting writing up Carol. Great set of shots too, they really do look like twigs. Moira
jonwebber 12 4 1 United Kingdom
20 Nov 2011 8:52AM
What a lot of interesting info. I am that observant I doubt I would ever notice one of these . . .
Excellent photography.
EAS 11 1 13 Scotland
20 Nov 2011 9:24AM
Fascinating info and a super set to go along with it.

Years back one of my colleagues brought a Stick Insect to school. Some weeks later she was trying hard to convince us all to take a "pet" home with us, as the insect had produced goodness knows how many juniors! Reading about their abiklities to reproduce, so glad I didn't agree!!

tomcat 15 6.4k 15 United Kingdom
20 Nov 2011 9:30AM
That is a very interesting write-up Carol -thanks for sharing that infoSmile

V2 for me as it stands out well against the green leaves

Trust you are feeling a tad betterWink

paddyman 11 66 United Kingdom
20 Nov 2011 9:32AM
Nice set of images Carol.
achieverswales 10 8 101 Wales
20 Nov 2011 9:39AM
Good set Carol V1 for me.


SlowSong Plus
12 9.3k 30 England
20 Nov 2011 9:50AM
How amazing Carol. And thanks for all those interesting facts.
I remember the first time I saw a stick insect. I was about 7 years old and picked this twig off of a tree and it moved. I never ran so fast!!!
lonely_oryx 13 61 55 England
20 Nov 2011 9:52AM
Fascinating images and text
11 10 10 England
20 Nov 2011 9:53AM
Learned a lot about stick insects today Carol - thank you. Great set with V2 my favourite.
RonnieAG Plus
11 154 119 Scotland
20 Nov 2011 10:04AM
A fascinating and instructive intro, Carol, so much I did not know and have learned: and some cracking shots to accompany.......very well done.
Jasper87 Plus
10 2.6k 158 England
20 Nov 2011 10:06AM
Fascinating description, thankyou. And 3 great images, v1 stands out for me because it stands out against the bg.

20 Nov 2011 10:17AM
A great image and a very informative account. Thank you.
Ray42 12 3 England
20 Nov 2011 10:35AM
A good trio and some interesting information
FeatherFriend 12 38 217 England
20 Nov 2011 10:54AM
Our son was fanatical about these as a child, they bred like wildfire and we had them escaping all over the property, a quick visit to the woods was necessary in the end Wink
Great set Carol, V1 for me,
barbarahirst 12 27 12 United Kingdom
20 Nov 2011 11:07AM
What amazing camouflage he has when in the right place
I dont think he is meant to be in the swimming pool Wink
TrevBatWCC Plus
12 13 16 England
20 Nov 2011 11:07AM
A great set of this amazing creature, Carol, and well done in spotting it! Smile Very interesting write-up, and how useful to be able to re-generate limbs...not sure about the lack of sex bit, though... Wink
Trev Smile
dmhuynh72 12 44 3 United Kingdom
20 Nov 2011 11:14AM
good write up complimented by a lovely trio of photos Carol.
Joline Plus
14 30 59 United States
20 Nov 2011 11:50AM
V1 is so very excellent. The moss makes a perfect stand for him.
I learn so much from your work and facts.
20 Nov 2011 11:56AM
superb macro work carol,well captured.ray
Chinga Plus
10 3 2 United Kingdom
20 Nov 2011 1:10PM
Mesmerized by V2! We have plenty eucalipus trees back in Portugal and I bet I have been with me nose on one of those and never seen it! Well spotted! IB
ChiliMan 14 135 17 Singapore
20 Nov 2011 1:41PM
Oh my...I love weird and wonderful insects and this one's one of the best. So alien! Like it's from a (albeit sci-fi movie.

By the way, the idea of a skinny pizza has NO appeal to me whatsoever too. I mean, WHY???

A Smile
Ade_Osman 17 4.5k 36 England
20 Nov 2011 2:08PM
Strange ickle creatures.....

CaroleS Plus
10 442 3 United Kingdom
20 Nov 2011 2:58PM
Great set, I love these insects they are fascinating!. Carole
jaktis 16 84 Sweden
20 Nov 2011 6:10PM
Great captures of this special insect

20 Nov 2011 6:18PM
Super images of this fascinating insect, Carol, and fascinating write-up. I wonder if they originated in France, with that Latin name. v.1 is superb with both pose and b/g. (Ollie still rocks! Wink
teocali Plus
12 442 18 England
20 Nov 2011 6:24PM
Superb captures, Carol and brilliant write-up - so much I didn't know about these fascinating creatures! Really cannot decide between V1 and V2 - both excellent in their own right and really showing how well camouflaged this insect is.
20 Nov 2011 6:34PM
Three great shots.
posty57 12 6 2 United Kingdom
20 Nov 2011 7:24PM
V1 is fantastic ! The first time I saw a stick insect was when I saw myself in a mirror (aged 4 ! ) Smile How things change Sad

20 Nov 2011 8:25PM
Brilliant macros!
PattiW 15 24 2 United States
20 Nov 2011 8:49PM
wow! This is amazing, so much info and great images, too. Patti SmileSmileSmile
LexEquine 14 1 19 United States
20 Nov 2011 9:01PM
'Superlative & wonderful set of macro's of this unique 'Stick Insect,' Carol.

**v3** is a 'real Cracker'~ Smile

~ Pietro
Glostopcat 14 255 2 England
20 Nov 2011 10:13PM
An interesting set and narrative Carol
20 Nov 2011 10:15PM
Hi Carol thanks for the interesting imformation, learned yet again, as ever superb shots, regards gray.
annettep38 9 220 42 Luxembourg
20 Nov 2011 11:21PM
I will certainly go to bed more clued up. I have wiped them off car bonnets, my washing and tried to trim them off the tomatoes. And invariably, I jump when I find out that I have been fooled.
Great how you made them stand out. these shots show them in their full glory!
21 Nov 2011 1:21PM
Hi Carol, really I should say one thing that I have found very few people who love nature, but the way you love nature is really praise worthy. Hats off to you... Great set of images.

SandraKay Plus
13 233 4 United Kingdom
26 Nov 2011 6:17PM
This takes me back years to the stick insects we nurtured in primary school. They fascinated me then but I've learnt a whole lot more today.

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