Stick insects, along with leaf insects, belong to the order Phasmida, and
are collectively referred to as "Phasmids." This is a large family - there
are over 2500 species of stick and leaf insects. These insects rely primarily
on camouflage as a defense, so as a rule look either very much like like
twigs or leaves, depending on the species. Only some species of stick insect
are winged. Most come from tropical climates.
These insects are among the most popular insects kept as pets, due largely
to their unique appearance and the relative ease of caring for them. The
care of the various species depends on what their native environment (i.e.
humidity and temperature requirements and favored plants for food). Several
of the stick insect pages listed in the links to the right cover the housing
and feeding of several different species. The information below applies to
the Indian stick insect, sometimes also called the laboratory or common stick
Stick insects should never be released into the wild due to the risk that
they could reproduce and cause damage to an ecosystem where they are not
normally found. This includes making sure any eggs are disposed of well,
by crushing or burning, as no special care is needed for many species' eggs
to hatch. If you are in the United States, a USDA permit may be required
- check with your nearest USDA office. In other areas, check with the appropriate
government agency about legality (e.g. a Department of Agriculture or similar
agency). If you are having a hard time locating stick insects, try joining
an email list for stick insect enthusiasts. You may be able to contact a
collector here who can help in your search.
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