Cape Stick Insect Phalces brevis
Family: Bacillidae. Subfamily: Bacillinae. Tribe: Phalcini
Addo Elephant National Park, Spekboom hideDescription
Medium-sized: male 50-55 mm, female 70-80 mm. Very stick-like, wingless insects with short antennae; colour varibale. The male is greenish brown, with three blue or green marks and white bands on the pronotum, hind part of the mesonotum and metanotum. Legs often a different colour from body, green with a brown base and apical band on all femora. The cerci are whitish. Females are usually brown, grey or green, perhaps speckled. The abdomen ends in a boat-shaped chute-like appendage, which varies in length. However, it is often around four times the length of the anal (last abdominal) segment.Distribution
Western Cape, Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal.Biology
Females drop their glossy eggs to the ground. The resulting nymphs moult five times, taking about 4-6 months to mature; adults live 4-6 months. Each female usually lays a few hundred eggs. Adults remain well concealed in the daytime, often moving away from their foodplants, only to return at night.
When disturbed, nymphs may sway from side to side. Bisexual reproduction is by means of a spermatophore (sperm sac), although they can reproduce parthenogenetically. Certain ants are attracted to eggs, which they carry to their nest by the capitulum (knob on the lid of the egg). The capitulum is removed and eaten without reducing egg viability.
Links: The Bacillid Stick Insects of South Africa
; Phasmida Speciesfile