Giant thorny stick insects Trachyaretaon bruekneri are long delicate animals the females grow to about 20 cms and the males grow to 11cms in length. They hang down from their food mostly plants covered in thorn like spikes which helps to camouflage themselves and this also enables them to shed their skin as they grow, which after a few moults they then develop their spiky appearance. (Who needs a Hairdresser and lots of gel?) As adults they move very slowly unlike the young who are speedy and very active scaling up trees. If they feel threatened in any way they are able to stand on their front and middle legs pointing their abdomen to the side as if they are doing a scorpion pose which deters any predators away and if they are males they release a defensive odour that can be really smelly for other creatures but to humans it can smell like toffee or peanut butter.
Do you know?
Stick insects are able to reproduce without a male (this is known as parthenogenesis) and they will drop their eggs onto the bottom of the forest floor laying between 100/700 eggs and they will only hatch as females (Girl power Rules!) and will take 9 months to hatch, but if they have mated with a male it will only take 4 months. Ants in particular can be a real threat to unborn young as the ant will steal the eggs and take them back to their nests to consume them, but if a stick insect is born in or near to an ant colony they mimic an ant by it’s colouring and the ants then feel threatened by them and this is when they make their get away.