#Biodiversity150 number 100 of 150 Walking Stick

100/150: Phasmids, the masters of disguise!

Animalia: Arthropoda: Insecta: Phasmatodea: Diapheromeridae: Diapheromerinae: Diapheromera: Diapheromera femorata (Say, 1824)

The common walking stick (Diapheromera femorata) is the only species walking stick found in Canada.  Phasmids are excellent at camouflage and are commonly mistaken for twigs and leaves, accomplishing this feat by body modifications that resemble leaf veins and bark like tubercles. Phasmids will also sway back in forth, resembling leaves in the wind. The genus Phobaeticus holds the title for the world’s longest insect, measuring close to 2 feet in length! Some species will mimic ants and scorpions by curling their abdomen upwards in attempts to scare off predators.  The common walking stick takes this mimicry one step further by laying eggs with projections that attract ants, who then carry the egg to the colony, allowing the phasmid egg to develop in a protected environment. Researchers are currently analyzing the method in which stick insects walk, hoping to apply this information into the development of six-legged walking robots. #Canada150 #Biodiversity150

Phasmid containing modifications to resemble a twig. Photo Credit: Bernard Dupont goo.gl/PhHjfz
Phasmid mimicking moss, furthering its ability to camouflage itself in vegetation. Photo Credit: Andreas Kay goo.gl/L3dytw
Phasmid in the Genus Phobaeticus, commonly known as giant walking sticks. Some phasmids in this genus are the longest insects in the world, measuring close to 2 feet in length. Photo Credit: Bernard Dupont goo.gl/S1ezkx

Here’s the barcode sequence information for this species:

Process ID: TTSOW546-11

nucleotide sequence


amino acid sequence


Learn more about it’s BIN (Barcode Index Number): BOLD:AAW5365

Title Image: Specimen BIOUG03767-B05 – Point Pelee National Park – 18-Jul-2012 – Malaise Trap
Photo Credit: CBG Photography Group, Centre for Biodiversity Genomics

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