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Phasmids generally mimic their surroundings in color, normally green or brown, although some species are brilliantly colored and others conspicuously striped. Many stick insects have spectacularly beautiful wings. Others just look like a stump. Even for the humble Walking Stick, life isn't fair.
The walking stick resembles the twigs among which it lives, providing it with one of the most efficient natural camouflages on Earth. Many stick insects play dead to thwart predators, and some will even shed a limb to escape an enemy's grasp. Others swipe at predators with their spine-covered legs, while one North American species, Anisomorpha buprestoides, emits a putrid-smelling fluid.
Walking sticks are found predominantly in the tropics and subtropics. Although several species live in temperate regions, stick insects thrive in forests and grasslands, where they feed on leaves. Mainly nocturnal creatures, they spend much of their day motionless, hidden under plants.
Walking Sticks are herbivores and mainly eat leaves.
Their eggs are oval, dark brown, 2-3 mm long, and have a lighter-colored knob at one end. When they hatch, this knob comes off and the walking stick climbs out. The eggs hatch after 10-12 weeks at room temperature. After they hatch, the egg shell often remains attached. Hatchlings are about 1 cm long. If you keep walking sticks as pets, you should be careful to prevent the escape or either the adults or the nymphs. The non-native species may become especially destructive because they have none of their natural enemies to control their proliferation. Make sure any eggs are disposed of as well, by crushing, boiling, or burning, as no special care is needed for many species' eggs to hatch. In the United States and Canada, tropical species such as the Indian Walking sticks are considered plant pest and a permit (United Stated Department of Agriculture or Canadian Food Inspection Agency) is required to import them.
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