The Walking stick, Bacillus atticus

The Walking stick belongs to the insect order Phasmatodea (phasmids). Most phasmids mimic leaves or branches; they are particularly well camouflaged and difficult to see. About 3,000 species are known, but new species are described constantly. The phasmids reach their greatest diversity in the tropics. All species live in dense vegetation and are phytophagous.

The phasmids are generally quite large; the largest species reaches a length of half a meter (measured with outstretched legs). Characteristic is the very short first thoracic segment (prothorax). In a number of species the wings are reduced.

The Walking stick Bacillus atticus occurs in many parts of the mediterranean area. We have seen it several times in Azalás, although it is nocturnal and due to its camouflage very difficult to see. The Walking stick imitates the shape of a branch. Body and legs are very long and thin. Often the animal performs a slight swaying movement like a branch in the wind. Bacillus atticus reaches a length of about 15 cm (with legs, body length up to 8 cm). The wings are almost completely reduced.

An interesting feature of the Walking stick is its reproduction by parthenogenesis, that is it can produce developing eggs without fertilization, so that one individual can reproduce on its own.

Bacillus atticus

Here you can see the astonishing size of that insect.

The species Bacillus atticus can be identified by the fine granulation of the thorax.

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