Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Giant Walking Stick (Megaphasma denticrus)

This is the first adult walking stick I've seen this summer. All others have been smaller, green nymphs. Walking sticks eat vegetation. Some dine on specific species while others are generalists. A Giant Walking Stick like this one can often be found on grape vines, grasses and oaks. Females grow up to seven inches long (180mm), making them the longest North American insect. This male was only about four inches long (101mm). The "clasper" at the end of its abdomen is for holding onto a female during mating.



gwendolen said...

Interesting love handles.

Shelly Cox said...

I am glad to see you pointed out that the appendage at the tip of the abdomen is a clasper and NOT a stinger as many people believe. I have people ask me all the time if they stink and if they are poisonous.

Lisa at Greenbow said...

I think these are one of our most amazing bugs.

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

What a great find Marvin. I wish we were into summer again. I belive rain is headed our way for this weekend and if it does, our weather will start to warm up. I do hate the winters.

Willard said...

Hi Marvin,

I haven't seen any of these yet this year, but I should soon as I ordinarily see a lot of them.

Thanks for stopping by and commenting on the elk situation. I agree with you. One agency employee told we that he was in a meeting about Fisher re-introduction and someone made the point that the only reason they were doing this was for increased trapping opportunities. He was highly disturbed by this attitude, but it was that point of view that was ruling the day.

Craig Glenn said...

Hi Marvin,

Joan sent me over, great blog. Don't worry I only tease her bugs and am really a nice person no matter what she says! LOL

Great shot of the walking stick, I haven't seen one in years. Really enjoyed my visit and look forward to comming back.


Texas Travelers said...

I've been looking all Summer and haven't found one yet. Thanks for sharing. I'll have to redouble my efforts to find one.

I'll try to catch up on all of the great stuff here.

I'm back to posting so,
A Three-Banded Grasshopper is up for viewing.
To see the post, Click here.
Troy and Martha

Pat - Arkansas said...

I haven't seen one of these in years! Great photo.

kmurr said...

Sorry to bother...we just saw one of these on our deck today...and I've been trying to locate one on here that looks the same, and I found this page. Our cat was trying to play with it. We took it out to the woods but I was wondering bc of the bright red on its back (which for some reason I thought that bright colors indicated danger usually) does it mean it is harmful...or dangerous...?

Marvin said...

knurr: To the best of my knowledge there is absolutely nothing dangerous about native walking sticks. BugGuide mentions noting. They don't bite and cannot sting. Their coloration is simply for camouflage when they are in their natural habitat among twigs, stems and leaves. We used to have a little terrier that ate them. While I wouldn't advocate eating walking sticks, he suffered no ill effects.