Behavior of the Giant Spiny Stick Insect
This species lives, in contrast to many other types of stick insects, on the ground and not in trees or bushes. They even hides under bark and stones during the daytimes.
Males can be aggressive towards other males, therefore you need to house them in an enclosure with enough free space. When the males feel threatened disturbed, they will stand on their front legs and lift their hind legs up in the air. The big thorn who is present at the inside of these large legs will be used to defend itself. It will snap its legs towards each other, trapping anything that comes between these legs. It can be very painful when it grabs your hand, so make sure you stay away from the spine on the legs of the male.
This species of stick insect is very bulky and big. It looks more like a big branch than a twig or stick. Its adult color is always dark brown, sometimes even close to black and they appear quite glossy. The nymphs can vary in color a lot. They are usually a mix of different shades of green and brown in a moss-like pattern. The legs of this stick insect are thick and prickly. Adult males have a long thorn on their hind legs, while the females do not have this. Adult females have an ovipositor at the end of their abdomen which kind of looks like a stinger but it is not used in defence.
Female reach a length of 11 to 15 cm while the males reach around 11 cm.
Here I show you the underside of an adult female Eurycantha calcarata to show you the segments of its body and its relative size. The light colored patches are flexible and soft while the brown plates are hard and rigid.
New Guinea Spiny Stick Insect
The New Guinea Spiny Stick Insect, or more specifically Eurycantha calcarata, is a large species of ground dwelling stick insect from New Guinea. The Phasmid Study Group give it the species number psg 23. Sometimes it is called Giant Spiny Stick Insect, but this is too confusing as there is also a different species called Giant Prickly Stick Insect.
This is the head of an adult female Eurycantha calcarata
Food for Eurycantha calcarata :
This species of stick insect eats blackberry, raspberry, oak, ivy, fire thorn, chestnut, hazel and rose leaves. It is best not to feed them exclusively on ivy.
Plants from a shop can be sprayed with insecticide, so it is better to get leaves from nature.
Environmental conditions :
A temperature of 20 to 25 ° C is sufficient for this stick insect.
This species has to be kept moist. We recommend spraying the enclosure about 4 times a week. Make sure there is a lot of potting earth or humus at the bottom of the terrarium. Keep this moist, but do not allow mold to develop.
Like all species of stick insects, the terrarium of the New Guinea Spiny Stick Insect should be at least 3 times the length of the insect in height, and at least 2x the length of the insect width. For an adult female this means at least 45 cm in height and 30 cm in width. It is important that each stick insects has enough space, so the more insects the larger the tank should be. This species can sometimes fight with each other (especially males) when they have too little space.
This species needs a thick layer of moist earth, sand, vermiculite or potting ground at the bottom of the terrarium. The females lay their eggs in the ground. You also need to offer the animals a place to hide under, like a broken flower pot, a shallow wooden box or a piece or rock that is a bit lifted from the ground. They will crawl under anything that is dark and a bit moist. This species does need branches to hang from when molting, so be sure to supply these too!
This is a nymph of the New Guinea Spiny Stick Insect. They look very different from the adults.
Breeding New Guinea Spiny Stick Insects :
The males of this species are easily recognizable by the big thorn on their hind legs. They are also a bit smaller than the females. The females have an ovipositor on their abdomen, which the males do not have. Eurycantha calcarata males and females can be kept in one enclosure to allow them to mate. You do not need to do anything to ensure this happens.
The eggs are small light brown ovals which are deposited in the ground. The ovipositor of the female is used to “drill” a hole in the ground where the egg is laid into. She will then use her ovipositor to bury the egg by sweeping soil over the just drilled hole.
The eggs hatch after about 4 to 6 months. The eggs should be kept in moist soil. This should always remain moist but not extremely wet. In a small box, 3 times per week spraying should be sufficient. Eggs which are not fertilized by a male will not hatch.
Handling a SPINY STICK INSECT Group! - (Eurycantha calcarata)
Phyllium giganteum is a very wide and large leaf insect with a body shaped like a leaf. Also the legs have appendages making it look like leaves. The skin is green in color with brown spots around the edges. Two brown dots decorate the top of the abdomen. The shade of green and the amount of brown edges and spots differs between individuals. Females will become around 10 cm in lenght.
Allevamento Eurycantha calcarata
GIANT STICK INSECT Laying Eggs! - (Eurycantha calcarata)
really big Phasmid (Dorngespenstschrecke - Eurycantha calcarata)
Giant Leaf Insect (psg 72)
72 Phyllium giganteum (Hausleithner)
The Giant Leaf Insect is a large species of leaf insect with the scientific name Phyllium giganteum. Leaf Insects are insects in the order of stick insects (Phasmatodea) that look like a leaf. Phyllium giganteumis one of the largest species of leaf insects that is kept as a pet.
Phyllium giganteum is referred to as PSG 72. In nature it can be found in tropical forest in Malaysia. This species consists of only females. Two dead museum specimens of Phyllium giganteum males have been found, but as these have never been seen alive or tested for reproductive capabilities it remains unclear what role males in natural populations of this species have. Females will lay unfertilized eggs, that will give rise to new females. In captivity there are no males.
A Phyllium giganteum female, not yet adult
Phyllium giganteum female nymph, you can see how flat her body is.
Behavior of Giant Leaf Insects
Phyllium giganteum is a very docile species, like many stick insects and leaf insects. During the day it sits very still, during the night it will move and eat. The newborn nymphs are a bit hyperactive, however after their first molt they will remain very quiet. When you pick up a Phyllium giganteum female, it will generally just stay still to keep up the appearance that it is a leaf. It is hard to coax them into moving.
A young nymph of the Giant Leaf Insect Phyllium giganteum
The temperature of the cage for Phyllium giganteum should be between 25 °C and 30 °C. This species needs a lot of humidity, but also a lot of ventilation. Nymphs need to be kept more humid than the adults. Do not allow mold to form. It can be challenging to keep this species healthy.
As with all species of stick insects, Phyllium giganteum needs a cage that is at least 3 times the length of the insect in height, and at least 2x the length of the insect in width. For one adult female this means at least 30 cm high and 20 cm wide, but better is around 40 x 30 x 30 cm. Bigger is always better.
You cannot house stick insects and Giant Leaf Insects together in one cage, as the stick insects will eat the body of the leaf insects when food is scarce.
Phyllium giganteum female nymph
Breeding Giant Leaf Insects
Adult female Giant Leaf Insects will start to produce eggs around 1 to 1,5 month after becoming adult. You can see it has reached adulthood by the big wings on their back. Only adult females have these wings. The eggs are small and black in shape and can be easily distinguished from droppings. The eggs are just dropped to the floor of the cage.
Collect the eggs and keep them on moist paper. Make sure no mold forms on the eggs or the paper, because this will kill the eggs. A good method to avoid mold is to let the paper dry up in between misting it with water. Keep the eggs at 25 to 30 degrees Celsius. The eggs will hatch after 6 to 9 months.
Vietnamese Stick Insect
144 Ramulus artemis
The Vietnamese Stick Insect, or Ramulus artemis, is a long and slender stick insect from Vietnam. It is usually green but can sometimes be brown too. In captivity there are only females of this species!
Ramulus artemis has the Phasmid Study Group number PSG 144.
Walking Leaf Bug - Female Phyllium Giganteum
5 Giant Leaf Insects on my hand (Phyllium giganteum)
The weirdest pet - 5 living leaves (Phyllium giganteum)
Ramulus artemis adult female
Ramulus artemis has the typical form of stick insects that many people expect of them: long and thin. This species is light to medium green with yellow eyes. On the head and on the abdomen is a brown spot. Sometimes completely brown varieties occur.
Adult females have a small thorn at the underside of their abdomen.
When you include the front legs, this stick insect is about 21 cm long! The body length is about 15 cm. This means it is a pretty big stick insect.
Behavior of Vietnamese Stick Insects :
During the day this species moves very little. In the evening and night you can see them move and eat. When this stick insect walks, it often walkings in a wobbly or shaking fashion. It does this in order to look more like a twig, moving in the wind.
A child can easily handle this stick insect, but it should not be picked up but rather be allowed to walk onto your hand. Newborn nymphs are pretty fragile.
Food for Ramulus artemis
This species eats leaves of blackberry, raspberry, oak, rose and hazel. They do not eat ivy!
Beware of roses (and other plants) from the shop, which can be sprayed with insecticide! You can check out our Food Plants page to learn to recognize wild foodplants.
Ramulus artemis adult female
Room temperature is fine for these animals, around 20 °C. If you want to keep them at a higher temperature you can put them at 28 °C.
This species does not have high demands regarding the humidity. They must have some water to drink, so spraying with a little bit of water every other day is advised. Ventilation is important.
As with all species of stick insects, this species needs an enclosure of at least 3 times the length of the body of the insect in height, and at least 2x the length of the insect in width. For an adult female so this means at least 45 cm high and 30 cm wide.
Breeding Vietnamese Stick Insects
In captivity there are only female Ramulus artemis stick insects. It is not sure if males even exist in nature. Females reproduce parthenogenically, meaning they lay eggs that will hatch without being fertilized. All nymphs will also be females. You can recognize an adult female by the thorn she as at the underside of her abdomen. Immature nymphs do not have this thorn.
The eggs are small flat seed-like things. They are brown and can easily be distinguished from droppings.
Collect the eggs in the enclosure and store them on moist paper. This paper should always remain moist but not really wet. The eggs hatch very well, often more than 90%. Please choose wisely how many eggs you want to keep. If you keep all the eggs, then you will be overwhelmed with stick insect nymphs. You can better euthanise some eggs (by placing them in the freezer) than to kill or neglect the nymphs. I think it is impossible to find good homes for every nymph a female produces! The eggs hatch after about two months.
Phyllium philippinicus leaf insect adult female. Brown edges and the like are part of the leaf design!
Ramulus artemis - Una piccola presentazione.
Ramulus artemis - Piraten des Brombeerbuschs
Leaf Insect (psg 278)
278 Phyllium sp. Philippines
Phyllium philippinicum, or just called ‘Leaf Insect’ is an insect in the order of stick insects (phasmida) that looks like a leaf. It is one of several leaf insect species, but Phyllium sp. is the one most commonly kept as a pet. One other species we feature on this website is: Giant Leaf Insect.
Phyllium philippinicum is referred to as PSG 278. In nature it can be found in tropical forest in the Philippines. It used to be capped Phyllium sp. phillipines and Phyllium philippinicus.
This species of leaf insect is bright green in color and has a body shaped like a leaf. This means it is really flat and broad and has brown spots at the rims of the body. The abdomen shows veins like leaves have and the legs are equipped with lobes. They are often bright green like a young leaf, but occasionally there are brown, yellow or pinkish variants of this species to be found.
The difference between males and female is huge once they are adult. The females are larger, thicker and wider than the males. The males are really small and slender. Adult females have broad wings what lay flat on their back, but they lack underwings that are necessary for flight. The males also have very long antennae. When the leaf insects are still nymphs you can already see the difference in body size and shape between males and females.
The female will reach a size of about 7 cm and the male of about 6 cm.
Phyllium philippinicus leaf insect adult female
Behavior of leaf insects
This species of leaf insect is very quiet during the day, but becomes active during the night. When they walk they will walk in a stop-go kind of way as if they are moved by the wind. The males can fly once they become adults, and they generally will do this often when disturbed. The females cannot fly.
Food for leaf insects
This species of leaf insect eats blackberries, rose and oak leaves. You can check out the pictures of these food plants here. Nymphs are prone to drowning, so make sure you do not provide them with large droplets of water.
Young nymphs cannot eat from undamaged leaves, so you should cut of the edges of the leaves to allow them to eat.
Phyllium philippinicus leaf insect male and female. Female is adult, male is subadult.
The temperature should be between 25 °C and 30 °C.
This species needs a lot of humidity, but also a lot of ventilation. Nymphs need to be kept more humid than the adults. Do not allow mold to form.
As with all species of stick insects, it needs a cage that is at least 3 times the length of the insect in height, and at least 2x the length of the insect in width. For one adult female this means at least 18 cm high and 12 cm wide, but better is around 30 x 30 x 30 cm. Bigger is always better. If more than one pair is held, 30 x 60 x 30 cm (h x w x d) is recommended.
You cannot house stick insects and leaf insects together, as the stick insects will eat the body of the leaf insects when food is scarce.
Phyllium philippinicus leaf insect adult female
Breeding Phyllium philippinicus:
Males and females are easily distinguishable. Females are larger and broader, while males are much narrower. When adult, the males have long wings and long antennae. The males have very long antennae, around 3.5 cm, while women have antennae of around 1 cm.
The males and females can just be kept together, they will mate when they are ready. The female will drop her eggs to the ground. The eggs are brown cones with fine spiny hairs. When the environment is not humid enough, the spines will not stick out so much. The hypothesis is that the spiny hairs function to attach the eggs to passing animals to spread the eggs.
You can collect the eggs and place them on moist tissue paper. This should always remain moist but not really wet. Keep the eggs at around 26 ° C. Watch out for mold! If mold occurs, the eggs will die. The best way to prevent mold is allowing the moist paper to dry before spraying with water again. The eggs hatch after around 4 to 5 months. The nymphs are black-grey in color when they are just born. After their first molt they will become light green in color. Young nymphs are very sensitive to humidity and temperature, so it can be a challenge to raise them.
Leaf Insect nymph Phyllium philippinicus
Two newborn (first instar) Leaf Insect nymphs (Phyllium philippinicus)
Walking Leaf, walking (Phyllium Sp. philippines female)
Phyllium sp. philippines (Nymph, Male)
Oviparous Leaf - Phyllium is laying an egg