Ecuadorian Stick Insect (Pseudophasma spp.)
Walking Stick insects are among the largest insects in the world reaching over 12″ in length. Most stick inects are tropical and nocturnal. During the day, many of them lie dormant surrounded by the sticks and leaves they resemble. The Phasimid order currently contains over 2,500 walking stick species worldwide.
In addition to their foliage mimicking defensive strategies, some stick insects are also capable of spraying an irritating concoction from their thorax. They have also been observed gently swaying as if being buffeted by the breeze. If the intrusion is more direct, stick insect are capable of losing and regenerating leg appendages. This specimen has lost his right middle leg. They will also drop to the ground and draw their legs together to forming a single elongated stick. If you look closely at the fore femora (front legs) of this winged Ecuadorian male, you will notice a red colored indentation designed to accommodate the thickness of the head when both legs are held forward.