Gathan Beaga

black-spined stick insect

Knowing how happy I am to find stick insects, B₂ called me outside this morning to have a look at this one, whose exact like we had not seen before:

Black-spined Stick Insect

We have lots of the smooth green ones, and plenty of the brown variants of those, and occasionally some pretty fearsome looking brown and spiky ones.

Black-spined Stick InsectBut there’s so much variation of colour, size and texture that even today’s one probably belongs to one of our previously seen species.

It was probably a member of Genus Acanthoxyla, I thought after I had a good poke about in the Stick Insect pages at Landcare Research.

I particularly like her spines (it’s easily a “she”, because apparently no males have ever been observed for species in this genus, and it would be pretty unlikely for me to be the one finding the exception):

Black-spined Stick Insect

And also I like the rather nice biomechanical look of her segments, and the variegated colour patches which taken in the whole really contribute to the overall camouflage effect:

Black-spined Stick Insect

And then there’s the sheer alienness of her gaze, her incomprehensible mouth, and the rather pretty red patches on her forelimbs:

Black-spined Stick Insect

Yep. Weird. But cool.

I’m so happy we have wee beasties like this around our house.