The Walking Dead: An Insect’s Natural Defense

Fans of AMC’s post-apocolytic drama, The Walking Dead, are eagerly awaiting the premiere of Season Five which is scheduled to debut in October, 2014. This popular series is based on the comic book series in which deputy sheriff Rick Grimes awakens from a coma to find the world taken over by flesh-eating zombies. When I was a little girl, I held the misguided belief that Walking Sticks were poisonous and would spit flesh-eating venom into my eyes. It turns out, this is completely untrue. But, I do admit to pausing whenever I spy a Walking Stick on a branch and usually give them a wide berth. 

So, when I found this rather large and stunning Waking Stick (the larger ones are always female) I found myself doing a bit a research on this secretive and interesting insect and thought I would share with you. 

A few of interesting facts about The Walking Stick

  • Walking Sticks are herbivores of the order Phasmida of which there are over 3000 species.
  • There size range from 1/2inch to over 13 inches. As I stated earlier, the larger are female and my lovely lady measured about 10 inches.
  • Walking Sticks can live up to 3 years in the wild and are easily one of nature’s most efficiently camouflaged insects. They can adapt their colors to their enviroment and in tropical regions, can don bright colors. Which is why, I was surprised to find this one on a white background.
  • Walking Sticks will imitate a twig or a branch by swaying in the wind and when stalked by a predator will fall off the tree and play dead. So, you see, they truly can be called, “Nature’s Walking Dead.”
  • Females do not need males to reproduce. In captivity, they can reproduce hundred’s of other female Sticks. And in the wild, males that manage to mate with a female will only have a 50/50 chance of reproducing another male.
  • When threatened, Walking Sticks will shed their limbs and subsequently regenerate them. So if grabbed by a bird or an annoying small child, Walking Sticks can drop a leg or two and survive. Hhm…, come to think of it, so can zombies.
  • Some varieties of Walking Sticks do emit a foul-smelling fluid as a defensive reaction which can temporarily blind their attacker. Probably where I got my nightmarish information on not picking up Walking Sticks. And yet another zombie characteristic. 
  • Walking Sticks have become quite the vogue exotic pet. And I guess if you are a fan of zombies, you might consider one. But, I left my Walking Stick in the garden where she belongs and I am sure is the happiest!

So, the next time you see this cool creature, you’ll know the facts and appreciate the efficiency and wonder of the world that teems around us.

Bee-the Change!

The Bee Queen




Leave a Comment:

Patricia Gordon says

I have seen a walking stick on my front door window several times in recent years…didn’t know they live so long. Wonder if it’s the same one? I love them, even though they look sort of creepy. Thanks, Bee Queen!

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