1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Need to learn phasmid behaviour

Discussion in 'Insects, Other Invertebrates & Arthropods' started by RemeCA, Aug 13, 2019.

  1. RemeCA

    RemeCA Arachnopeon

    5
    0
    1
    Canada
    Advertisement
    On Sunday I captured a Northern Walking Stick, and I've finally settled into a routine with him. I have questions now about his behaviour. He is highly resistant to being picked up, will that continue or will he get used to it? I love to hold it and let him walk on my hands, but does being handled stress him out? I don't want to handle him more than necessary if it's always going to be struggling and freaked out. He didn't eat anything the first night, but the second night he ate white oak. If it doesn't eat, I get worried, but are there times it won't eat but that's normal? If it's distressed, how can I tell? How do I know if it's content? Does it use body language besides the swaying? Thanks for any tips and advice.
     
  2. chanda

    chanda Arachnoprince Active Member

    Phasmids do not like to be held. (Neither do any other bugs or spiders.) To him, you are a ginormous potential predator, so every time you try to pick him up, he is going to fear for his life and cling to his branches as if his life depended on it - or drop to the ground to escape. (I've never kept Diapheromera sp., so I don't know if they'll drop to escape or not - but there are other phasmids who do!) If you are trying to physically pick him up - and he is resisting - there is a very good chance that you could accidentally rip off a leg or two, so you should not try pulling him off his branches. Instead, if you absolutely must hold him, you should try to persuade him to walk onto your hand by himself. You can do this by putting your hand in front of him and lightly brushing his legs or abdomen with the bristles of a soft paintbrush. He still may not cooperate, though, because your skin will feel different to him from the wood or bark he is accustomed to - plus, being a lot smoother, it's harder for him to get a grip on.

    As for feeding, he'll need fresh leaves on a regular basis. If the leaves are not in water, then they should be changed daily. If you put them in water, they can remain fresh for up to a week. (I use a small gatorade bottle with holes drilled in the lid to hold fresh browse for my various leaf-eating bugs. That way, the stems are in the water - but I don't have to worry about the bugs falling into an open vase or cup and drowning.) Oak is a good choice for him, but be sure it is from a tree that has not been sprayed or treated with systemic pesticides. Phasmids do eat a lot - but don't eat 24/7, so it is normal to sometimes see them just hanging out. I like to lightly mist the leaves for most of my leaf-eating insects every few days, to give them the option of fresh water. Sometimes they drink - sometimes they don't - but at least it's there if they want it.

    As for body language, phasmids are not terribly expressive. They generally have three "modes" - walk around, hold perfectly still, or sway gently, to mimic a twig swaying in a breeze. (If you get more phasmids and end up with both males and females, you can add "ride around on the female's back and mate a lot" to his repertoire.)
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2019
    • Like Like x 1
  3. RemeCA

    RemeCA Arachnopeon

    5
    0
    1
    Canada
    I haven't tried just pulling him off his perches, I'm too worried about taking off a leg. Sometimes he plays dead and I can pick him up then, or I coax him onto my hand. It can just take a lot of coaxing. I won't handle him much anymore now, I don't need to to change his food or clean his droppings. His food hasn't been a problem, I've given him lots of fresh options, and he picked white oak. I have the branches in a cut up Gatorade bottle with paper towels stuffed over the opening. I'll get used to him just staying motionless I suppose, and just have to stop worrying since that's what they do. I'm using distilled water to mist his enclosure every night before I go to bed,about 4-5 sprays in a 5 gallon tank. 20190814_141806.jpg