Lifescapes Gallery

6 / Aug / 2014
The Ultimate Stick Trick!
Stick Insect, Coorg Photograph: Dr. Bishan Monnappa Story: Rajesh Ramaswamy

The Ultimate Stick Trick!

When you think of flying sticks and tricks, you tend to think of Bruce Lee and his famous split-stick, the Nunchaku, or circus acts where clowns and magicians make simple sticks do their bidding. But have you ever known a stick that has a mind of its own, and can do things beyond the normal? Welcome to the world of the esoteric Phasmatodea, otherwise known as the Stick Insect or ‘Walking Stick’. This past master of disguise lives among the trees and twigs looking like one of them. If the mimicry doesn’t work, it confounds predators by either playing dead, or breaking off a limb, and scurrying away, only to regrow it by molting again. This long-legged lady is no simpering lass… she’s not only the longest insect in the world, but a true blue Amazon: she can do very well without men, thank you! She can reproduce parthenogenetically, without the need for a male, and on the rare occasion that she does choose a mate, it’s likely more for recreation than procreation. When she lays her eggs, she only reinforces her unmaternal, Amazonesque reputation by dropping the eggs over the side onto the forest floor, where they lie, looking like scattered seeds. But don’t judge Momma too harshly; she scatters the eggs so there’s less chance of a predator destroying all of them. And the ‘seed’ act ensures that they pass under the radar of most predators that don’t fancy a spot of vegetarian nosh! But that’s not the end of it. Our Sticks begin their tricks rather early in life. They have a fatty capsule called Capitulum that does to ants what honey does to bears. The ants carry the eggs back to their nests for a leisurely meal and then leave the eggs alone, where they incubate safe from any predation. Very soon, the next generation of walking sticks emerge, ready to dazzle the world with their nifty tricks.

We at Orange County have loved sharing this story with you, and shall bring you one every fortnight, as part of our Responsible Tourism Initiatives to raise awareness about the nature and culture of the environments we operate in.

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This entry was posted on Wednesday, August 6th, 2014 at 5:58 am and is filed under Coorg, Insects . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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User Comments
  1. neeta nair says:

    thanks for sharing…never knew such a creature existed.. captivating story alongwith a beautiful colourful picture.. fell in love with the Orange County Resorts right from the time we stepped into the property and had a wonderful stay. thanks for giving us wonderful moments and memories to cherish.

  2. Bilkish Tejani says:

    Awesome story well told and a gorgeous picture to go with it.
    Thanks for sharing!

  3. Suresh Shah says:

    Amazing! I saw for the first time such a long creature like thin stick. God is great! Thank you
    So much.
    Suresh.

  4. Ramya Mani says:

    You are such a wordsmith!
    Great read!

  5. K.S.Shetty says:

    Excellent write up about an extraordinary creature!

  6. Moy Ghosh says:

    Good morning. Thank you for sending this amazing stick like insect. The photograph is well taken.
    Regards Guide Ghosh.

  7. agamjot says:

    Amazing creature!…. Good initiative guys!

  8. Sameer R Rao says:

    Wonderful image of the fascinating insect.Beautiful color harmony in the image

  9. sneh sheikhawat says:

    Very well written!Thanks for sharing!!

  10. Ami Thakkar says:

    Perfect picture n interesting details. We saw that at waynad. Appreciable initiative by Orange County.

  11. abhiyogi says:

    Beautiful pic and equally fascinating description! Incidentally, these stick insects can act ‘dead’ to discourage predators..i.e they can fall on the the ground, and stay very still. This behavior, is called thanatosis. Miss Stick or Mystic 😉 ?

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