Imagine being able to camouflage at every stage of your development, to impersonate three distinctly different life forms to maintain safety from predators. This is what the Australian walking stick experiences during its egg, nymph, and adult forms.
KQED’s Deep Look series shares how the Australian walking stick subtly morphs in this video titled Australian Walking Stick Insects Are Three Times Weirder Than You Think:
“The fake seed and pretend ant phases are more than just protection from parasites and predators. Since adult Australian walking stick insects don’t actually walk much, they rely on seed-collecting ants to disperse their eggs throughout the forest. Then it’s up to their zippy, ant-impersonating offspring to help them spread out even further.”
More information from the Australian Museum:
“Phasmids are insects that eat leaves and resemble leaves or sticks.
“They are usually green or brown but may reveal brightly coloured underwings when they fly. They have developed many unusual shapes to camouflage themselves to avoid detection by predators. The order Phasmatodea includes the longest insects in the world.”
“About 150 species of phasmids are found in Australia. They usually live in gum trees but are sometimes found in gardens on rose bushes or fruit trees. However because of their excellent camouflage, they are often overlooked. When disturbed, a phasmid may sway, imitating a dead leaf or stick swaying in the breeze.”
Watch more camouflage and stick insect videos:
• Peru’s rare Black Beauty Stick Insect
• A twig-like Indian Walking Stick insect eats a leaf
• Nature’s Masters Of Disguise
• The Lychen Katydid camouflages
• A critically-endangered Lord Howe Island Stick Insect hatching