Northern Walking Stick

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Other common names: Northern Stick Insect; Common Walkingstick

Scientific name: Diapheromera femorata

The basics:
Northern Walking Sticks are native to most of the United States, and are also found in Ontario and Quebec, Canada. It is the most common species of Phasmid in North America. Northern Walking Stick are typically found in trees, where they blend in with branches.

Appearance / health:
The Northern Walking Stick is a smaller insect, reaching up to 3 to 4 inches. They are a green or a green-brown like color and use branches and leaves for camouflage. They can straighten out their long legs and stand perfectly still to look like branches, often confusing predators.

Behavior / temperament:
Like most stick insects, this one is calm and docile. Even though they are non-aggressive, they should not be handled frequently as they are fragile and have a risk of getting hurt. These insects are relatively non-expensive, easy to care for, and will make a neat addition to anyone’s collection, beginner or expert alike.

Depending on the number of stick insects, enclosure size will vary. A 2-5 gallon enclosure is suitable for 1 adult stick insect. If there are more than one, enclosure size needs to grow and can range from a 10-15 gallon tank. The tank must be ventilated. Baby and younger stick insects can live in smaller enclosures that are ventilated. Whatever they are being housed in should have more height than floor space as they are always climbing.

Temperatures should be kept between 75-80F with humidity levels around 70-80%. A substrate is not necessary but can be added for visually appealing purposes. The substrate should be a peat moss and potting soil mix. A water dish does not have to be provided since the insects will get their hydration from tank mistings. Tank décor is important and should be items that will allow them to climb. Sticks, branches, twigs, live or fake plants, etc can be used.

Adult Walking Sticks should be offered apple leaves, oak leaves, or rose leaves. Babies should be offered black cherry leaves, raspberry leaves, or sassafras.

Breeding this species is straight-forward. A male/female pair will reproduce. The male may remain attached for the duration of his adult life, and display territorial behaviors toward rival males. Whether a male is available or not, females will lay hundreds of small, glossy black ova (eggs). Wild caught females will produce eggs in summer and fall that will then hatch as the following season warms again. Ova produced via parthenogenesis (no male contribution) will still hatch in decent numbers, but all offspring will be exclusively female. Nymphs are notoriously weak and do not start well on any known foodplant. Some people recommend diapause for the ova.


interesting, great learning experience, pretty cool addition


correct foliage


half dozen eggs

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