Praying Mantids
Stick Insects
Tessellated Phasmatid
Titan Stick Insect


Children's Stick Insect - Tropidoderus childrenii

Family Phasmatidae 

This page contains pictures and  information about the Children's Stick Insects that we found in the Brisbane area, Queensland, Australia.

Adult female, body length 140mm

We found this stick insect on the ground just under a eucalypts tree in Wishart Outlook Park in Brisbane. We thought it was dead. When we picked it up it started to move a little bit so we knew it must be playing dead. We let it climb on a branch of eucalypts tree and take it home a few days for study. We noticed the spot where we picked it up, there was very close to a small black ants nest on the ground. There was even some ants walking on its body. But those ants seemed not know there was a meal in front of them.  

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The Children's Stick Insect has short antenna, about 20mm. The whole body and wings are green in colour. The surface texture and colour is resemble to the eucalypts tree leaf. It has a fat abdomen about 8mm in width. The legs are flatten plates with saw-toothed edge which are also look like leaf. It has relatively long wings, with the forewings cover half and hind wings cover all but one segment of its abdomen. If it is disturbed, it will display the blue blotches at the wings base to scare away the predators.
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Two weeks later, under the same tree, we found a dead body of this species of stick insect. The head and abdomen was broken apart and the abdomen was empty. It seemed that it was consumed by a bird. Notice that the blue blotches at the wings base, which was supposed to scare away the predators, obviously this did not always work.
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Found the above remains in Ford Road Conservation Area on Feb 2011.  

Found a Pair of Children's Stick Insect Nymphs  

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Early summer 2007 when we were searching for Leaf Beetle larvae on gum leaves in Karawatha Forest, we found two Children's Stick Insect nymphs on the top a small (about 2 meters tall) Stringy Bark Gum Tree. One had the board body and legs were flatten plates with saw-toothed edge. The other had the slimmer body and its legs did not have the flatten plate. 
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We collected the two nymph home, we fed them with different type of gum leaves, they seemed like the Stringy Bark Gum leaves and the Bloodwood Gum leaves better. They did not like those leaves from Ironbark Gum or Smooth Bark Gum.
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The slimmer nymph seemed did not like to be kept and try to escape a few time. It died a few days later. The board body nymph seemed had no problem. 
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We keep it for over three months. In this period, it turned into a female adults and laid over 200 eggs.
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After three months of observation, we put the Stick Insect back to a large Bloodwood Gum tree. We watched it climbed up and disappear on the top of the tree, used about half an hour.   
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On Apr 2010, we saw a nymph emerging. Check all the eggs we had this could be the first or second one emerged  

The Host Plant

Red Bloodwood
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Eucalyptus gummifera, Family Myrtaceae 
We checked that the tree we found the Children's Stick Insect was a Red Bloodwood Gum. There are about four to five fully grown Red Bloodwoods in Wishart Outlook Park. 
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1. Grasshopper Country - the Abundant Orthopteroid Insects of Australia, D Rentz, UNSW Press, 1996, p254, plate 409,410.
2. The Complete Field Guide to Stick and Leaf Insects of Australia - Paul D. Brock and Jack W. Hasenpusch, CSIRO PUBLISHING, 2009, p140. 
3. Species Tropidoderus childrenii (Gray, 1833) - Australian Biological Resources Study, Australian Faunal Directory, 1997. 

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Last updated: March 04, 2011.