Tuesday, 14 May, 2002

Walking Stick

I came home this evening to find awalking stick (click on the picture at left for a larger image) hanging out on the lattice work of the pool house.  The body on this guy (actually, probably a gal) is 4 to 5  inches long.  It looks longer because the two legs at the bottom left in this picture (just below the wide protrusion there) are stretched out rather than to the side like the other four.  I can't say for sure which end is the insect's head.  I haven't yet identified the particular species.  At first I thought it was an American Walking Stick, Anisomorpha bupestroides, but now I'm not so sure.  I haven't found a picture of anything like this on the 'net, yet.  Guess I'll have to look in my Texas Bug Book.

I've known about these things for years, of course, ever since I lived in South Texas, although I didn't realize they lived in the Austin area until we'd been here over a year.  I don't see them very often because they typically hang out in the trees (they like my oak and pecan trees).  I was particularly surprised to see this one on the lattice work.  Usually I'll find them stuck to a tree trunk, or walking on the ground among the real sticks.  What a fascinating insect.  Can you believe there are people who keep them as pets?  Very strange.