Monday, February 1, 2016

Spiny Leaf Stick Insects

This wasn't a planned post ... but it turns out it's necessary! I'm not spending a huge amount of brain time on this which is new to me! I usually take  a couple of weeks to write, edit and publish a post to a point where I'm happy with it ... I'm churning this out in a couple of hours in between house work and other business.

I made a post on a Facebook group I help admin, giving away about 10+ pairs of babies to new homes. We're running an Emporium and I've been wanting to find homes for my extra babies but I've not necessarily wanted to drive across Sydney or have people come to my house! So giving them away at the Emporium seemed like the most convenient option. So I thought I'd throw together a page to support the insects and their new homes. It was easier to do it here than it was on the business website.

Spiny Leaf Stick Insects are awesome. They make amazing sustainable companion animals for early learning services or for children in the home. They are so easy to care for. They also allow you to view a life cycle over the course of a year and you're not slaughtering orphan baby chickens in the process (yes, I have a strong political view on this).

It's hard to tell from this photo, but its female ...

Large plastic aquarium with my nymphs - note the jar covered in foil. This is our nursery tank.  Do you know how hard it is to move 20 odd babies over from old branches to new branches? Yeah, it's not easy!

It's a boy ... 

The work enclosure which I bring home for the weekends so I can care for the bigger bubs .. They love their water spray ... and my cat is plotting hunting adventures ... No. Just, no.

Female having a meal ... I've graduated them from callistemon (bottle brush) to bigger gum leaves.

What you will need:

  • A suitable enclosure/habitat.
  • A spray bottle for water only
  • Fresh supply of gum (eucalyptus) leaves
  • A jar  to support the gum branches to last longer (up to a week). When the nymphs are young,  you will need to cover the jar with aluminium foil and poke the branches through to prevent any accidental drowning. 
  • Paper towel, newspaper or something for the substrate of the habitiat

There are all sorts you can use. While they are young, I use a plastic aquarium which is about $25. They provide cats with endless entertainment as well - so that's a bonus. 

This is like the one we have at work:

Its fabulous. I am actually thinking about buying one for home! Because yes, I may need my own insects for home ... don't ask. And it will save me transporting a full enclosure to and from. I can just grab the ones we have and then put them with my own.  I know I have a problem.

Links with information:
Australian Museum:

Creature Features 

Australian Insect Farm Life Cycle:

Wikipedia: Extatosoma tiaratum, because life is not complete without Wikipedia:

Bugs ED 

Care Sheet: 

I've included a few videos ... I've never seen one hatch, despite having a hundred or so eggs ... One of my team did with one of our students and that would have been the most wonderful thing to behold! So here's a video which I showed to my children at work - the babies just kept popping up without most of us (bar one) seeing the process! I've included videos of one of the males on my hand - he has a smoother body and he also has wings. The female has a spikier body and she has the tiniest wings that don't function. They can be tricky to tell apart when they're young and you're not used to them.


A hatching spiny leaf insect nymph:

One of my young male spiny leaf stick insects:

One of my young female spiny leaf stick insects:

And this awesome video of the insects up close ... if the insects gross you out, then this close up video will make you die... so be warned and don't die!!!!

Ok, I think that will do us...

I hope this is all useful!

© Teacher's Ink. 2016

(your friendly local bug dealer)