The Macleay’s Spectre Stick Insect (Extatosoma tiaratum) is a phasmid insect, related to the Praying Mantis. It is also known as the Giant Prickly Stick Insect and the Spiny Leaf Insect.
The Macleay’s Spectre Stick Insect can be brown, white, cream, green, reddish, or yellowish and is camouflaged in plants. It has a long, rounded body. Both the male and the female have wings, but the wings of the female are too small for flying. The male has spikes on his face, and the female has spikes on her body and face.
It measures about 20 centimetres (8 inches) in length. Males are smaller and thinner than females.
The Macleay’s Spectre Stick Insect is native to Australia. It is found in two states on the eastern coast: Queensland and New South Wales. It prefers tropical and sub-tropical regions.
It sways back and forth or side to side.
It is herbivorous, eating the leaves on the Eucalyptus tree.
It is mainly nocturnal, active at night.
The female Macleay’s Spectre Stickbreeds parthenogenically, meaning that she lays eggs that hatch without being fertilized. The female lays 100-1,200 eggs on the ground or on a plant. The eggs hatch after about 4 months into nymphs, which look like ants. The nymphs eat plants and grow into an adult stick insect.
Photographer: Martina Nicolls
Martina Nicolls: SIMILAR BUT DIFFERENT IN THE ANIMAL KINGDOM