Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Phobaeticus serratipes - that's one big bug!

Kingdom:  Animalia
Phylum Arthropoda
Class:  Insecta
Order:  Phasmatodea
Family:  Phasmatidae
Genus:  Phobaeticus
Species:  serratipes

Phobaeticus serratipes (formerly known as Pharnacia serratipes)  is one species of stick insects.  It is endemic to Peninsular Malaysia.  And it is one big bug! (although technically, it is not a bug, but I can’t help myself!)

At one time, Phobaeticus serratipes was known as the longest insect in the world, with one female being recorded at 555mm (with legs fully extended).  However, specimens of Phobaeticus chani and Phobaeticus kirbyi have now been recorded as longer.

This insect likes warm and humid weather.  It is nocturnal, and lies still during the day, using its body shape as camouflage. It takes 4-5 months for their eggs to hatch.  Females are commonly green or brown.  Males are much shorter than females, and have a blue and black stripe along the sides of the thorax.  The males have wings but cannot fly.

Phobaeticus serratipes are plant eaters, feeding on leaves and berries.  It has the unusual ability of partial regeneration, where if a leg is lost, it will grow back after several successful molts.

Phobaeticus serratipes is a popular species that is raised in captivity, with a lot of on-line discussion and exchange going on.   But it’s IUCN threat status is not evaluated. 

If you see a stick insect in the wild, admire it but do not disturb it.  Let’s hope that this beautiful insect is thriving in the wild, including the Park!

Sources of info:
and the Selangor Forestry Department

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