Scientific name: Achrioptera fallax
The Metallic Blue Stick Insect is native to Madagascar. Males are a colorful metallic blue-green in color.
The walking Blue bug you've been waiting for
My wife and I first saw this Madagascan species for sale at an insect show in France in 2010. It had only been in captivity since 2007 so was rarely seen for sale and expensive. The size and colouration won us over and we invested. Little was known about its requirements but they turned out to be remarkably simple for such a lovely insect. The female is a stocky 10" in length. She is mainly brown, with a few blue markings and thorny spines along her body and spiny legs. Her most interesting feature is her small red wings. The male is a spectacular insect – bright metallic blue, with contrasting small red wings. He is much thinner and shorter at 6". They thrived on bramble but were happy to eat oak when offered. The species is supposed to eat Eucalyptus as well but I never tried them on it. Occasionally, the adult females will stop eating for no obvious reason. Offering a different food plant should get her feeding again. The males take about 5 to 6 months to reach maturity, whereas the females may take up to 7 months. After the final moult, the male will be greenish in colour and it will take a few weeks for him to attain his rich blue colouring. Breeding this stick insect doesn’t require any special conditions. The male will continue to try to pair even after a successful mating, so he should be removed or he will annoy the female and hinder her egg laying. Every few weeks he can be reintroduced to the cage. The female drops her eggs on the cage floor. The eggs, which are smooth and about ¼" long, should be incubated at room temperature (68°F to 75°F). To avoid the eggs getting mouldy, they should be placed in a clear plastic box on a layer of slightly damp, clean sand. The box should have small holes in the lid to allow for some air exchange. Don’t let the sand dry out but equally don’t make it wet. The eggs will take about four months to hatch. As they normally hatch in the morning it is best not to keep the box in the dark. The stick insects should be kept in a well-ventilated cage that is tall enough to allow the nymphs to hang down freely when they moult. A cage 24" by 18" by 12" is big enough for several adults. As this is quite an active species, it’s a good idea to keep the various sizes/ages in separate cages to avoid disturbed moults. We were able to breed several generations of this stick insect and would recommend it as relatively easy and rewarding. The blue colour on the males is striking and always attracted comments when visitors saw them. .
From DavidHaggett Aug 31 2016 9:41AM