Zoo Tales – Bizarre and beautiful stick insects

Zoo Tales – Bizarre and beautiful stick insects


So, somewhere in this exhibit are nine large female stick insects. I don’t know whether you can spot them already. They’re absolutely huge. Here we are. This is the female goliath stick insect with a male, very usefully, on top of her here. She’s feeding on her favourite food item,
which is eucalypt. In habitat covered by leaves that are almost the exact match for their body colour, they rather disappear directly into their environment. In fact, they can actually swing side to side as if by being caught by the wind. It’s all part of the way of blending into
its environment. If they are discovered or disturbed by a predator, they have a number of tricks up their sleeve. One is they can flick eggs or poo at you,
which is unpleasant enough. They’ve got that, kind of, scoop-like structure on the end. It’s primarily designed to disperse the eggs around the habitat evenly. But it also doubles up as a rather bizarre weapon. Also, in nature, of course, red or pink is
a threat to say “I’m poisonous”. In this case, it’s a bluff. Just on the underside of the wings there, is a real vivid pink flash. If a predator would get a quick flash of those pink wings, they will assume immediately the animal is poisonous and they just won’t harass it any further. What I love about this brand new exhibit is it’s the focus on the strangely beautiful, which of course, all bugs are. This giant
phasmid or stick insect from Australia has got to be one of the most bizarre and most beautiful Australian occupant.

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