Other common names: Northern Stick Insect; Common Walkingstick
Scientific name: Diapheromera femorata
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
half dozen eggs
I got a stick insect from the pet store when I was little as I'd seen one at my friend's house and thought they looked cool. My parents didn't see the harm and got me one. It was great fun watching it eat and grow, and it was quite willing to be handled as well.
After a while we noticed something that looked like little brown eggs. We didn't think much of it since the insect was on its own and didn't have a mate. That was until the little eggs hatched and there were tens of stick insects waddling around in the cage. Turns out stick insects can fertilize their own eggs.
Enterprising as I was, I started selling stick insects to all of my friends, but it soon became too much as the little creatures were multiplying rather quickly. I kept my original one and made sure to clean out all the eggs on a regular basis..
From SofiH Jun 2 2015 4:12PM
Much More Affectionate than I Would have Thought
When my goliath stick insect passed, it left a surprisingly big hole. This forced my hand when I saw one of these northern beauties on my deck. Looking back, it was unfair to domesticate an animal perfectly content on his own, but he faired quite well. He seemed unbothered by my exitance, indifferent so long as I fed him and watered him. He was easy to home since he was bred and raised in the climate Virginia provides. I would recommend for those outside of Virginia, keeping them between 60 and 75 degrees, as they slow down in the 50s, and can potentially over heat in the 80s. Feeding them is simple enough, though they do have clear favorite foods. Have water provided to them and they will keep themselves hydrated. They can smell it from a good distance away. I know I found my guy drinking from the leaky kitchen sink when I accidentally let his dish dry. They tend to do fine with other animals, too calm to draw the attention of cats or dogs. Rodents, however, should be kept away from them. My rat would try to eat him whenever she got the chance. All in all, very good creatures to have, just don’t steal one from the wild like I did unless they are injured and would die otherwise..
From BhuvanaMcGoats Jun 11 2015 9:14AM
I attempted keeping a walking stick once, but at the end I decided to let it go back where I found it. They aren't very visually appealing and the walking stick I had would not eat. Although this happened, I still found it very interesting. The stick bug I found was the only one I've ever seen where I live, I have never seen one since. I don't see them too common in upstate NY so even though it did not turn out too fun to keep, it still served as a great learning experience. I would try to keep these again if I had the chance..
From UpstateNYPets May 26 2009 10:12AM