Stick insects Keeping
Caring for stick insects
courtesy to : www.keepinginsects.com/stick-insect/care/
Keeping stick insects as pets can be great fun for everyone. Some species are very easy to keep, while others pose more of a challenge to the real insect enthusiast. For everyone there is a nice species to keep, but all species require care. This page will take you through all the basics of caring for any stick insect species.
Housing stick insects:
You stick insects need a terrarium, enclosure or netcage that is big enough for all of them. Which type of enclosure you could us is stated here. The cage of your stick insect should be at least 3 times the body length of the insect in height and 2 times the body length in width. If you keep more than one stick insect, you have to add some space for each one of them, preferably in width of the tank. Stick insects really need 3 times their body lenght in hight to survive, because they need this space while molting. When stick insects shed their skin, they hang upside down on their old skin. This means they require a large vertical space to molt. When molting goes wrong or the space they have is limited, the stick insect will die or be severely deformed.
The enclosure of you stick insects does not need much decoration, because the leaves you will feed to the insects are also their habitat. You do need to cover the floor of the enclosure with a moisture-absorbing substrate like potting earth, small pebbles or tissue paper. The roof of the enclosure should be made of netting or mesh to ensure that the stick insects can hang from this roof when molting. Molting from the roof is much more likely to succeed than molting from branches, leaves or other things in the terrarium, especially for heavier and bigger stick insects.
Temperature and humidity :
Every stick insect species needs a specific temperature and air humidity to survive. Which specific requirements your species of choice has, can be read in the species description. How to maintain a proper humidity and temperature, read the respective pages: Humidity and Temperature.
To ensure proper humidity, you need to spray the enclosure of your stick insects every day or every week, depending on the type of housing and on the species that you keep.
Feeding your stick insect :
Stick insects eat leaves, but they do not eat all types of plants. Every species has one or more plants which they eat, while they will refuse to eat other leaves. Therefore you have to be sure to feed the correct species of plant to your stick insects, because they will starve when fed the wrong kind. To read which species of plant your insect eats, visit the species section. To see pictures of all the most commonly eaten plants, visit Food Plants.
Stick insects only eat fresh leaves. To ensure the leaves you offer them stay fresh, you have to put the branches with leaves on them in a vase with water in it. Exactly like cut flowers! Just cut the branches with the leaves on them with a sharp scissor or knife, and place them in a cup filled with water. Make sure the cup is stable, it should not easily fall over. To make it more stable, you can fill the bottom of the cup with sand or stones.
When keeping small nymphs, the nymphs should not be able to fall into the water. They will quickly drown if they fall in the water, even if there are ways to crawl out of the cup. To prevent them from drowning, but tissue paper in between the branches to block acces to the water. Also putting musquito netting over the cup and putting the branches through this netting will prevent young nymphs from drowning. To my experience, bigger nymphs and adults do not need such protection.
You need to replace the food when the leaves become too dry or when the branches are completely stripped of their leaves. Stick insect should have food at all times! Do not leave them without fresh leaves.
A glass terrarium for stick insects
You can put the leaves that you will feed to your stick insect in a cup like this. These are privet leaves.
Cleaning the stick insect terrarium :
Stick insects need regular cleaning of their terrarium, because they produce a lot of droppings. Especially when the terrarium is kept under high humidity, this will quickly become full of mold and fungi when not cleaned. Therefore I recommend to remove all substrate every week and replace this with fresh substrate. Paper tissues work fine for me as a substrate and is easy to replace. If you use pebbles or sand you can use a sieve to clean the substrate and place it back in the terrarium when you are finished.
Make sure to remove all droppings and all old leaves. Also clean the cup in which the leaves are being held, to make sure that the water stays fresh.
General info :
This pages will give you some general information about stick insects, like their morphology, their senses, their way of development and their natural habitat and behavior.
Morphology / body plan of stick insects :
Like any insect, stick insects have six legs, to antennae and their body is divided in three segments; head, thorax and abdomen. Almost all stick insects have a body that is not exclusively designed for movement or efficiency, but also designed for camouflage. Their body and legs are elongated to mimic a stick or straw. Other species have many projections on their legs and body to mimic leaves or other natural occurring material. On the picture here you can see the camouflage of an Australian stick insect.
This stick insect is camouflaged as a prickly bush. The species is Macleays Spectre Stick Insect or E. tiaratum
Some species of stick insects do not rely on camouflage anymore; for example the speciesPeruphasma schultei is black with red wings and does not have a camouflaged body plan. This is because it is poisonous. With the red wings it can signal to potential predators that he is poisonous, thereby avoiding predation.
The senses of a stick insect
Although stick insects have the same senses as we do, they are poorly developed. Stick insects have eyes, but their vision is probably poor. They do not have ears, but can sense sound by feeling vibrations of the air. Their sense of smell is their most important sense. They can smell their food plants and the males smell receptive females because these females emit pheromones. The pheromones are crucial to the species to make sure males can find and identify females of their own species.
This leaf insect is actually also a stick insect (family Phasmatodea). This species is psg 278 Phyllium sp.
Development and growth :
Stick insects are part of the hemimetabola group of insects; this means they do not undergo a complete metamorphosis. A complete metamorphosis is that of a butterfly or beetle; first you have a caterpillar or larvae, then a pupa (cocoon) and then the adult insect. This adult looks nothing like the first stage of the life cycle. In stick insects and other hemimetabola, the newly born insects already resemble the adults. In stick insects, the newborn nymphs are almost the same as the parents except their size, camouflage and their wings. Young stick insects shed their skin around 6 – 9 times before reaching adulthood. The number of molts depends on the species and the sex of the stick insect. Every time the stick insects sheds its skin, it will grow. Because of its rigid outer skeleton (skin) it cannot grow in between molts. After a stick insect molts, it will often eat its own leftover skin.
The nymphal stages of a stick insect can be numbered starting from L1 (just hatched), to L2 (after first molt) and so on until L6 or L9 (depending on the number of molts this species has). The last molt is from subadult to adult and generally these life stages do not get a number but are referred to as subadult and adult.
Some stick insect species females can produce offspring without ever having mated with a male. This is called parthenogenesis, or asexual reproduction, and you can read more about it here.
This is a Extatosoma tiaratum stick insect in the process of shedding its skin
Natural habitat and behavior :
Stick insects occur on all continents except Antarctica. Their natural range is very broad; they occur at high and low altitudes, in temperate and tropical temperatures and in dry or wet conditions. Stick insects generally live in trees and bushes, but some species live entirely on grassland.
Stick insects are nocturnal animals, meaning the are only active at night. During the night the nymphs and females feed on leaves, but adult males will feed only as short time and spent the rest of the night searching for females. Males can smell the presence of an adult female because she will produce pheromones when receptive. Males of most species are able to fly, enabling them to find females in a large range.
Some Videos :
How to build a home for your stick insects
Keeping stick insects as pets
Keeping Giant Prickly Stick Insects as Pets
If phasmids are collected in the tropics one should directly try to find out and cut a sample of the native foodplant. Back in Europe the imported specimens or nymphs which hatched from the imported eggs should (if possible) be offered their natural foodplant or a plant of the same family. If it is impossible to offer the natural foodplant, an assortment of different available plants, most preferable evergreen ones, should be offered. Frequently, bramble (Rubus spp., Rosaceae),
What to Feed Your Pet Stick Insects
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Keeping & Breeding:
courtesy to : www.phasmatodea.com/web/guest/zucht
Although quite unusual for exotic insects, most of the species which are imported to Europe accept bramble (Rubus spp., Rosacea) as an alternative foodplant. As bramble is an evergreen plant, this is a situation close to the ideal for the phasmid breeder, due to the cultures are usually wished to be maintained throughout the winter as well, when only little fresh foliage is available. In very cold winters the access to fresh bramble stems may become difficult, but usually at least a few green stems can be found in slightly sheltered localities or in the forest. In spring the problem can become even more acute as the very young leaves are usually not eaten by the phasmids and the last year´s foliage exhibits strong damage by frost. For small nymphs or very fragile species the brown, dehydrated pieces of the foliage need to be cut off. After about one month the fresh leaves are accepted by most species, but as a reserve potted bramble plants can be raised. Generally the foodplant should only be taken from unpolluted localities, why one should avoid cutting food alongside roads, agricultural areas like fields or plantages and public parks. In the latter often insecticides or pesticides are applicated which may cause considerable harm to your phasmids. For cutting and handling the thorny bramble stems a pair of strong gloves and scissors are required.
Especially the Australian species (e.g. Acrophylla, Anchiale, Eurycnema, Extatosoma) show a strong preference to eucalyptus (e.g.Eucalyptus gunnii, Myrtaceae), which can either be obtained as 1-3 year old potted plants from good tree-nurseries or raised from seeds. The latter method shall not be underestimated as the eucalyptus-tree is one of the world’s fastest growing plants. When a suitable place (saved from strong winds and frosts) is available the trees can also be planted in ones garden, at least in the more mild regions of continental Europe or England. If the trees are wished to remain potted and mobile they should for the winter be transferred to a cool and bright room but never into a heated environment (e.g. ones house or flat).
If rhododendron is used, the very young and sticky leaves and flowers must be cut or broken off, as small nymphs may run in danger to adhere to these.
The stems of the fresh foodplants should be placed in jars with fresh water. This keeps most plants (e.g. bramble or oak) fresh for about one to two weeks, which however depends on the temperature, humidity and degree of direct light. In very humid only slightly heated cages the foodplants remain fresh much longer than in well ventilated and strongly heated cages. Especially rhododendron and privet last as long as two weeks in humid, unheated cages and certain variations of cultivated brambles, most of which lack spines, may remain fresh for almost three weeks. The water jars must be kept covered with a piece of kitchen-roll or paper so that no insects can fall into the water and drown. If jars with a suitable lid are used, you can simply draw some holes into the lid in order to place the stems of the foodplants into these. When very low-growing plants are being used for food (e.g. strawberry, hypericum or scindapsus) it is best to place these in small plastic water jars or containers which can then be fixed to the lid of the cage by using a thread or wire. For this case it is also good to fix a strong branch tightly to the top of the cage which can then be used as a holder. If potted seedlings of e.g. guava, oak or ferns are used, these can be placed into the cages including the pots and should be replaced from time to time.
The correct climate :
Apart from the suitable foodplants the correct climate is an important factor for the successful breeding of Phasmids and mostly depends on the origin of the concerned culture stock or species. Generally the natural environment and climate should be as close to nature as possible.
1. Humidity & Ventilation. Species from very tropical habitats usually require a more humid atmosphere than species originating in more dry habitats like savannas. Consequently, a distinction must be done between species requiring humid or rather dry conditions. As a general rule, most island inhabiting species even also from tropical regions (e.g. Caribbean Islands or West Indies) require a rather dry and well-ventilated atmosphere and species living in the canopy or costal regions like the living-leaves (Phyllium) most small and well-flying species (subfamily Necrosciinae) or e.g. species of Eurycnema and Anchiale require good ventilation during the day but plenty of humidity at night to ensure successful moulting of the nymphs. In such cases a ventilator should either be placed in ones breeding-room or a small PC-ventilator can be installed at the top of the concerned cage. During the day this can be switched on for several short periods (e.g. 5 times for 20 minutes) by using an electric timer. Furthermore the adults usually prefer a somewhat less humid climate than nymphs. Mostly however, due to the production of eggs which have a liquid content, females of most species seem to require plenty of drinking water to prevent them from dehydrating. This can be offered by placing a flat jar or plant pot saucer on the cage-floor (useful for more massive and large species like e.g.Eurycantha, Haaniella, Heteropteryx, Aretaon) or by regularly spraying the foodplants with fresh water. For species which require a humid atmosphere but should not get in direct contact or drink water, a plastic-container filled with damp sand or vermiculite or a layer of damp kitchen-paper should be placed on the cage-floor. The container should however be covered with gauze to prevent eggs and excrements to fall into it. This reduces the development of mould and makes the cleaning of the cage easier.
Signs for a lack of food or the wrong foodplants are constant walking of the phasmids during daytime or, except for very old specimens, the lack of antennae or tarsi. Often, phasmids can be observed to erroneously nibbling on each others tarsi or antennae because they are confused with the foodplant.
Due to some phasmids (e.g. Phyllium) are the real masters of mimicry one should be very careful when cleaning out the cages and throwing away the old stems and branches. Check the old foodplant carefully in order not to throw any small nymphs in the garbage!
rose (Rosa spp., Rosaceae), strawberry (Fragaria spp., Rosaceae), oak (Quercus spp., Fagáceae), Eucalyptus (e.g. Eucalytus gunnii, Myrtaceae), Salal (Gaultheria shallon, Ericaceae) or Pyracantha (Pyracantha spp., Rosaceae) are accepted as alternative foodplants by most species but some also prefer e.g. rhododendron (Rhododendron spp., Ericaceae), privet (Ligustrum spp., Oleaceae), ivy (Hedera spp., Araliaceae) or ferns (various genera).
2. Temperature. Generally Phasmids do not severely demand very precise temperature ranges, as the temperature mainly takes effect on the duration of the development of the eggs and nymphs. For most species room-temperature of + 20°C and even short cold periods (up to a few hours) as cold as 10°C are endured. Tropical species should however not be exposed to temperatures below 16°C for more than a few hours or a day and otherwise also too high temperatures (above 35°C) should be strictly avoided. Often, temperatures of 24-28°C during the day and 20-24°C at night have proven to be ideal. Species from cooler regions like e.g. the Mediterranean or from highly mountainous habitats should be kept cooler than tropical species with temperatures not rising above 25°C.
3. Lighting. Corresponding to the day-lengths in the tropics, most Phasmids are best lighted with a bulb or fluorescent tube for about 12 hours a day. As most Phasmids are night-active the lighting is not a very important factor for a successful breeding but is more attractive for the breeder and allows watching the insects during the day. Care should be taken, that the cage or insects are never exposed to direct sunlight as this does not correspond to the natural habits of Phasmids and may raise the temperature in the cage to an extreme (especially if not well ventilated)!
Cages & furniture
Different kinds of containers are suitable for rearing phasmids like e.g. sweet jars, acrylic boxes, acrylic terrariums, wooden framed gauze-cages or glass terrariums and aquariums with a lid. The size of the required container or cage mainly depends on the size of the species that is wished to be reared. Other features like the equipment of the cage mainly depend on what kind of climate the concerned species requires.
1. Cage-size. As a general rule, the height of the breeding cage should correspond to at least 4 times the length of the insects body. Followingly, for breeding a very large species with an estimated body length of 20 cm, a cage should be used which is at least 80 cm tall. This is mainly because the insects hang more or less vertically during the ecdysis for “sliding” out of their old skin.
Large wooden framed gauze-cages which are usually used for breeding caterpillars and butterflies, have proven to be the most prolific type of cage for very large species, exceeding body lengths of 18 cm. For obtaining the required humidity some of the sides or the top of the cage can be covered with foliage; the higher the required humidity the more sides of the cage need to be covered. Alternatively, large glass-terrariums can be used for large species which prefer a very humid atmosphere. The wooden gauze-cages have in contrast proven to be most prolific for species requiring plenty of ventilation.
In every case however, the cages should be constructed in a way that enables an unproblematic cleaning and changing of the foodplants. This is at best attained by a large door or removable front. If this is made from an acrylic glass or glass this also allows to watch the insects without opening the cage. Instructions for building suitable cages were published e.g. by BRAGG (1989) and ZOMPRO (1995).
For smaller species or ones which usually live in very low vegetation cages with a larger floor-space (e.g. aquariums with a lid) have proven more useful. In particular, species of e.g. Haaniella, Aretaon, Hoploclonia, Dares or Eurycantha like to hide on the cage-floor, under leaf-litter or roots
2. Floor-covering. The covering of the cage-floor depends on the egg-laying habits of the females. The lack of a suitable medium for females to lay their eggs can cause to problems or even the death of the concerned insects.
For all those species in which the eggs are simply dropped to the ground or flipped away, it is sufficient to cover the cage-floor with a layer of kitchen-roll which can be moistened by slightly spraying it from time to time. The advantage of using kitchen-roll instead of sand, peat or vermiculite is that the eggs and excrements can be easily removed from the cage by replacing the layer of kitchen-roll. This makes cleaning the cage much easier and allows the eggs to be easily sorted from the excrements afterwards.
Species which lay their eggs into the soil, a suitable medium should be provided e.g. by a 4-5 cm high layer of slightly compressed peat, sand or vermiculite. Alternatively, an acrylic box filled with damp substrate can be put on the cage-floor for giving the female insects an opportunity to bury their eggs. Such species are mostly characterized by the bird-beak-like ovipositor of females, this is e.g. Heteropteryx, Haaniella, Hoploclonia, Aretaon, Brasidas, Eurycantha orNeopromachus. In such species the eggs can either be left in the cage or transferred to separate containers (see “Eggs”).
Certain species, like Diesbachia, Pseudodiacantha or Orxines may also lay their eggs into spaces or slits in bark, moss or lichens. For these, alternative mediums like flower-foam or “Luffa´s”(sponge cucumber), (both available in well-sorted garden centres) may be placed on the cage-floor or fixed to the interior of the cage.
3. Short description of a fully automatized allround breeding-cage:
There is a possibility of offering almost all kinds of climate with only one cage. The type of cage described below has proven very prolific in our breedings. It is constructed from a stable aluminium frame-system, glass and pieces of punched aluminium plates (see pictures). For the cage-floor an aluminium-plate with a diameter of 3 mm is used. The parts are fixed with silicone and a special glue. The interior of the cage is equipped with a small 6V-ventilator and a vaporizer which are both controlled by separate electric timers. This allows to produce almost all kinds of climate, humid, airy, dry etc. In addition the cage can be equipped with a heating to regulate the decreasing of temperature during the night. The great advantage of this standard cage is the strongly limited time spent, as most is automatized. Only the cleaning, feeding and selection of eggs is left to be done.
Due to the floor is made from aluminium it can be covered with either kitchen-roll or substrate like sand or peat.
The aluminium frame-system can be obtained from Aluterra. A professional vaporizer can be obtained from e.g. ENT-Terrarientechnik. The cost for such a fully automatized cage range between 400 and 600 €, which is the only disadvantage.
In general less bulgy species can be easily kept together in one cage, but not all kinds of species should be kept together due to the size difference being to immense. Followingly, small or very fragile species should never be kept in one and the same cage with very large and bulgy species like e.g. Heteropteryx, Haaniella or Eurycantha. These may seriously harm and injure the more weak and soft-bodied insects with their spines and claws or may even nibble their antennae and legs.
Furthermore, living-leafes (Phyllium) should be kept in own cages and separate from other phasmids. Due to their almost perfect camouflage they may easily be mistaken for leaves of the foodplant which causes that the abdomen is often mistakenly eaten by their co-inhabitants. This problem can also arise when too many Phyllium are kept in one cage. Very large species like e.g. Phobaeticus serratipes but also smaller and more fragile phasmids like e.g. species of Lopaphus or Pseudodiacantha macklottii show a strong tendency to lose legs if too many specimens are kept together in one cage.
Also species which are able to spray a strongly smelling and corrosive secretion from defensive glands on the anterior angles of the prothorax, like e.g. species of Anisomorpha or Pseudophasma, should be kept separate from other species, as the secretion may harm other co-inhabitants.
Depending on the climate and natural environment at the origin of the corresponding culture-stock, species from tropical regions which prefer a humid atmosphere should not be kept together with species from more dry habitats. This also concerns to the temperature.
Aluminium Vivareium with Mesh sides for Stick Insect
From time to time the eggs are collected from the cage floor and excrements and are placed in separate containers. For sorting eggs and handling small nymphs a spring-steel-tweezers has proven very useful, as you do not crush more fragile eggs. Eggs which are simply dropped or flicked to the cage floor by the adult females are at best incubated on damp peat or vermiculite. Ones which are buried by the female insects (these often possess an ovipositor for this purpose, e.g. Eurycantha, Heteropteryx, Aretaon) and deposited in the soil should be covered with a layer of substrate. Another method, which has proven sufficient for Heteropteryx and Haaniella, is to use a pencil or similar to drill small holes into the substrate each in which one egg is placed with just the operculum showing. This allows to check the eggs for fungus and mould easily. A glance should be taken from time to time in order to remove infected eggs and to avoid that egg box openhealthy eggs are affected. Some species fix or glue their eggs singly or in batches to the stems or leaves of the foodplants or cages (e.g. Trachythorax, Sipyloidea, Gratidia or Sceptrophasma). These are either left in the breeding cages or kept in separate containers, but should not be removed from the surface to which they are fixed, as this usually damages the egg-capsule. This also concerns to the leaf-piercing eggs of Asceles.
Different kinds of stable plastic or acrylic containers with a lid are suitable for the storage of phasmid eggs but should always have air-holes or a piece of gauze in the lid to guarantee ventilation – the eggs would become mouldy in air-tight containers. The eggs are kept at similar temperatures as the adults and nymphs and care should be ensured that the eggs do not dehydrate. Therefore it is wise to check the humidity from time to time and to slightly spray the eggs with warm (not hot!) water if the humidity appears to be too low. As for the insects, eggs should never be exposed to direct sunlight.
When raising nymphs, one should always keep in mind that these are usually more sensitive and fragile concerning disturbance than adults and require a more humid atmosphere for successful moulting. The nymphs of more robust species (e.g. Haaniella, Heteropteryx, Dares, Eurycantha or Lamponius) as well as numerous other less pretentious species can be kept together in one cage with the adults. For more problematic species (e.g. Phyllium, Eurycnema orCranidium) larvae or ones which have very small and fragile hatchlings (e.g. Lopaphus spp. or Pseudodiacantha macklottii) it is more wise to keep the small nymphs separate from the much larger adults to prevent them from being disturbed during the ecdysis. For very large species, e.g. from the generaEurycnema, Phobaeticus or Pharnacia, it has proven very prolific to keep the subadult (= last instar) nymphs each in one cage for its own. This clearly decreases the danger of difficulties during the final ecdysis. At best, gauze-cages or glass-terrariums with a minimum height of 50 cm are used with the foodplant being placed exceptionally in the upper third of the cage. There should not be any branches or similar in the lower two thirds of the cage! This compels the insects stay close to the top of the cage and enables them to have enough space for doing their skin-shed successfully.
The number of insects depends on the size of the cage. If too many specimens are kept together in one cage this causes stress and a high competition which usually results in a high mortally of the nymphs. Mostly the insects disturb each other during the moulds which causes the loss of legs or a “plunge” of the moulting insects which inevitably results in the death of the concerning specimen. Directly after the successful ecdysis the phasmids usually hang on their old skin to await the new chitin to harden and finally eat it. The consumption of the old skin appears to play an important roll for the hardening of the new chitin. Thus the insects are very vulnerable directly after the skin-shed, when the new chitin still is weak and soft. Especially the final ecdysis has shown to be problematic in many of the large and winged species or the living-leaves (Phyllium). This may be mainly due to the wings reach their final development with the final ecdysis and if the atmosphere is too dry these are often crippled. In some species this problem may cause high losses of nymphs.
When the young nymphs are sprayed one should take care that the water is vaporized very fine due to very fragile nymphs may stick to the water droplets and drown. This is a particular problem with the flat and thin bodies of the newly hatched nymphs of living-leaves (Phyllium). But as the nymphs require a more humid atmosphere than adults to enable successful moulting, the humidity should be checked regularly. For species which prefer a more dry and better ventilated atmosphere but require plenty of humidity for the ecdysis it has proven useful to cover the cage with foliage during the night and / or to put a container of damp sand or vermiculite on the cage floor. This ensures plenty of humidity at night when most of the moulting takes place. The foliage or container with damp soil should then be removed from the cage in the morning. This method has proven prolific with species like e.g. Eurycnema, Monandroptera or Phyllium. In some species only the cage floor should be sprayed as drinking the water droplets would cause diarrhoea and the death of the insects.
In certain species (e.g. Phyllium) the males reach maturity much faster than females, which is due to having a smaller number of skin sheds. In addition many male insects are very short-lived and may already die after only 6-10 weeks. Followingly in this cases, females would reach maturity when all the males from the same generations have already died! To prevent this problem there is the possibility to keep the male nymphs separate from the females and at much lower temperatures (at least 5 °C below the temperatures used for females). This allows to extend the duration of the males development and to have adult males and females at the same time. Another possibility would be to start a culture (if possible) with small nymphs and eggs or at least with nymphs of various stages.
Often, the newly hatched nymphs of certain species seem to have problems in starting to feed, which may cause extreme losses. This is mainly due to the leaves of the offered foodplants, particularly a problem with rhododendron, being too thick for the small nymphs to eat them or if the margins of the leaves are dehydrated caused by frosts. This can be solved by cutting off the (dehydrated) margins of the leaves, increasing the number of nymphs in the cage or introducing larger nymphs. Alternatively, if one has only a very small number of nymphs of the problematic species, nymphs of other less bulgy species can be introduced as well.
For handling small nymphs it has proven best to use a pair of spring-steel-tweezers with a rounded tip or alternatively a soft brush. The spring-steel-tweezers allows to grip even the smallest and most fragile nymphs without causing them any harm.
by David Alderton
Parasites & Diseases:
Special care must be taken to check the freshly cut food for the presence of spiders, caterpillars etc. (a particular problem in the late summer), which should not be introduced into the breeding cages. Therefore it has proven useful to thoroughly wash the fresh food in a shower or similar, before it is placed in the cages.
uring the winter aphids can cause considerable problems, as either aphid eggs or small nymphs develop and breed quickly in the warm climate and absence of predators, when foodplants are brought indoors. The excrements produced by the aphids (honeydew) make cleaning the cages more difficult and encourages the development of mould which especially harms more fragile species. Introducing ladybirds (Coccinella sptempunctata (LINNÈ)) as predators for the biological control of the aphids has proven unsuitable because Eggs of Extatosoma tiaratumthe ladybirds would not only eat the aphids but newly hatched phasmids as well (BRAGG, 1991).
The eggs of several species are often affected by mould. E.g. in Extatosoma tiaratum and Acrophylla wuelfingi mould develops only a few days after the eggs are laid. The mould readily grows on the surface of the egg-capsule of these species but does not seem to have an apparent adverse effect on the development of the embryo. Slightly spraying the eggs with Rivanol or methyl hydroxybenzoate has proven successful in reducing the incidence of mould. Otherwise, eggs which go mouldy are often ones which contain dead embryos or were already damaged before incubation.
Videos for breeding and eggs care :
How to set up stick insect eggs for hatching and caring for nymphs...
Black Beauty Stick Insects Mating- Peruphasma Schultei
Caring for stick insects eggs nymphs babies
Stick Insect Hatching
how to look after your stick insects
Further Reading :
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Can be obtained from Amazon . com ( Click Here )
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by Elliott Lang
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by Paul D. Brock
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Below some photos for Stick insects Vivariums :