northern walkingstick

(Diapheromera femorata)

               
Conservation Status

IUCN Red List

not yet assessed

northern walkingstick

NatureServe

NR - Unranked

Minnesota

not listed

Occurrence

Common and widespread in eastern North America

Flight/Season

May through September

Habitat

Deciduous forests and woodlands

Size

Male: 3

Female: 3¾

         
         
          Photo by M.j. Horgan

Identification

This walkingstick is common in the eastern half of the United states and adjacent Canadian provinces. It is the most common walkingstick in North America and in Minnesota.

The body is extremely long, thin, and almost cylindrical. The male is about 3 long, the female about 3¾ long. The body strongly resembles a leafless twig and provides effective camouflage from predators. The male is brown, the female greenish-brown. The sensory appendages at the tip of the abdomen (cerci) are short and have only one segment. They resemble the sensory organs (palps) that are part of a spider’s mouthparts. The cerci on the female are short and straight. Those on the male are longer and curved, and serve as claspers. Nymphs are green but otherwise look like miniature adults.

The legs are long and slender. The group of end segments that together correspond to feet (tarsi) have 5 segments. On the male, the large third segment (femur) of the middle leg is dilated and tends to be banded.

There are no wings.

The head is small. The antennae are long, slender, and thread-like. They are as long as the body.

 
Similar
Species

Prairie walkingstick (Diapheromera velii) males usually have a pale stripe on each side. The femur is never banded or dilated. The cerci on the female are much longer. It is found in weedy, open areas.


Larval Food

Leaves of low-growing plants, including hazel, rose, serviceberry, blueberry, and strawberry.

 
Adult Food

Leaves of hardwood trees, especially black oak, red oak, beaked hazel, American basswood, American elm, black locust, and black cherry; avoids maple and boxelder.

 
Life Cycle

In Minnesota, the northern walkingstick population fluctuates on a two-year cycle. The odd numbered years are the “boom” years, the even numbered years the “bust” years. Mating takes place during the day from late August to mid-September. The female drops eggs to the ground one at a time. During heavy infestations, female egg-dropping can sound like falling rain. The eggs overwinter in the leaf litter. In the south, they hatch the following spring. In Minnesota, they remain on the ground until the second following spring. After almost two years, they hatch between mid-June late July. During the night, the nymph crawls up the first vertical object it encounters. If that is a stem of a shrub or tree, it begins feeding. Otherwise, it returns to the ground and seeks another vertical object.

 
Behavior

They feed at night. During the day they remain motionless, clinging to a twig or branch, and often swaying with the wind.

When at rest, the front legs are extended forward like the antennae.

When threatened, they will drop to the ground or remain motionless, often for a long period.


Distribution Distribution Map  

Sources: 7, 24, 27, 29, 30.


Comments

This is the only stick insect found in Canada.


Taxonomy

Order:

Phasmatodea/Phasmida (walking sticks)

 

Suborder:

Verophasmatodea

 

Infraorder:

Anareolatae

 

Family:

Diapheromeridae

 

Subfamily:

Diapheromerinae

 

Tribe:

Diapheromerini

 
Synonyms

 

 
Common
Names

common American walkingstick

common walkingstick

northern walkingstick


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Glossary

cercus

One of a pair of small sensory appendages at the end of the abdomen of many insects and other arthropods. In Odonata, one of the upper pair of claspers. Plural: cerci.

 

femur

On insects and arachnids, the third, largest, most robust segment of the leg, coming immediately before the tibia. On humans, the thigh bone.

 

palp

Short for pedipalp. A segmented, finger-like process of an arthropod; one is attached to each maxilla and two are attached to the labium. They function as sense organs in spiders and weapons in scorpions.

 

tarsus

The last two to five sections of an insect’s leg, attached to the tibia; the foot.

 

 

 

 

 

       

Visitor Photos

   
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M.j. Horgan


I just found this walking stick (Diapheromera femorata) on the side of the house in Ham Lake, Mn. Wow! : ) — in Andover, Minnesota.

  northern walkingstick    

       
       
       

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Slideshows

   
  Walkingsticks - Phasmida
Ilona L
 
   
     
  Diapheromera femorata (Northern Walkingstick)
Allen Chartier
 
   

 

slideshow

     

Visitor Videos

   
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Other Videos

 
  Walkingstick at Mount Wachusett - September 7, 2014
Don Gagnon
 
   
 
About

Published on Sep 8, 2014

Northern Walkingstick (Diapheromera femorata), Mount Wachusett Summit, Princeton, Massachusetts, Sunday morning, September 7, 2014, 11:54 AM - Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ70 00039 / 00040 / 00041 / 00042; 59 sec.

 
     
  Northern Walkingstick (Diapheromera fermorata)
Heidi Poodle
 
   
 
About

Published on Aug 30, 2010

One of two I found in the backyard re-stacking a woodpile. Weird bug.

 
     
  The Common Walkingstick (Diapheromera femorata)
danielofantioch
 
   
 
About

Published on Nov 12, 2012

A Walking Stick in Central Arkansas

 
     
  SciWorks Walking Stick
Kaleideum
 
   
 
About

Published on Aug 1, 2013

Northern Walkingsticks grow over 3 1/2 inches long, with males being smaller than females. Walkingsticks have long, skinny bodies which closely resembles twigs or stems of plants. Males are brown, females are greenish-brown. These insects have very long antennae, about 2/3 the length of their bodies.

Scientific Name: Diapheromera femorata

 
     
  Walkingstick Insect/ "Stick Bug"
Krista SingsWithTrees
 
   
 
About

Published on Sep 14, 2016

Twiggy the Walkingstick (Diapheromera femorata, often called a "stick bug") shows how much she's grown on a delicious diet of oak leaves! Song "Word of Mouth" by Ash Dargan.

 
     

 

Camcorder

         

Visitor Sightings

   
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M.j. Horgan
9/13/2017

Location: Andover, MN

I just found this walking stick (Diapheromera femorata) on the side of the house in Ham Lake, Mn. Wow! : ) — in Andover, Minnesota.

northern walkingstick


     
     
 

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