article and photo by Rose Collison
Walking Sticks are long and slow-moving insects that look like sticks, twigs or branches. Males tend to be smaller than females. The colors are usually brown and green, but may be gray or shades of red. Males usually have wings, but females are most likely wingless.
The American walking stick is slender and shiny with long antennae. The adult male is 2 to 3 inches long with bands of color, while the adult female is 4 to 5 inches long. Stick insects are herbivorous, eating only plants and vegetation. They eat berries, vines, and leaves. They feed at night.
Stick insects protect themselves by remaining motionless for hours. Sometimes, they gently sway back and forth like a small branch being blown in the wind. They hold their legs tightly along the body so they look like a stick or twig. Other defense tactics include using unpleasant smells, noises, postures, protective coloration, and sharp spines on the legs.