Now you see them … Now you don’t!
You may call these long, brown insects “stick bugs,” or walking sticks because they blend in with their habitats remarkably well. But did you ever wonder how they came to be so impressively camouflaged?
According to paleontologists, stick bugs started disguising themselves approximately 126 million years ago. And before dinosaurs were even extinct, they started trying to blend in to avoid being eaten by predators, and ultimately evolved to how they appear today.
Stick bugs don’t just look like a twig on a plant – they can move like a plant, too. They sway from side to side resembling a branch that sways in the wind. Some might be green, while others are brown. Typically they’re the color that best matches their surroundings, but there are actually some stick bugs that are brightly colored – or even have stripes!
Stick insects come in all different sizes, from about half of an inch to 21 inches long (with legs stretched out), for some of the tropical species. Females are normally bigger than males, and they feed on plants and leaves.
- In Asia the walking stick can be eaten as a protein snack.
- You can’t keep stick insects and leaf insects together because the stick insects will eat the leaf insect’s body when it’s hungry!
So, next time you’re looking for a stick bug but just can’t seem to find one, take heart: these bugs have had a lot of practice at blending in!