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Australian Wildlife

  Spur Legged Phasmid (Didymuria violescens)





Spur Legged Phasmid | Didymuria violescens photo
female Spur Legged Phasmid

Image by ben - GNU Free Documentation License.    (view image details)



SPUR LEGGED PHASMID FACTS

Identification
The Spur Legged Phasmid is a relatively small Australian stick insect. Males are greenish brown and females are green. Females have a broader abdomen and shorter antennae than the males. Males have fully developed wings and are capable of flight, while females have small wings and do not fly. Males have thicker hind legs with distinct spurs (hence the common name).

Other Names
Spurlegged Phasmatid

Size
body length 8cm

Habitat
mountain forests

Food
Feeds on foliage of eucalypt trees, especially Mountain Ash (Eucalyptus regnans) and Alpine Ash (Eucalyptus delegatensis). Generally it causes little long-term damage to trees or forests, but large outbreaks occur from time to time that completely defoliate trees.

Breeding
The Spur Legged Phasmid usually has a biennial (two year) lifecycle producing large populations one year alternating with smaller populations the next. The female lays her eggs in the leaf litter on the forest floor from late summer through to late autumn. Sometimes females mate with a male, but young can also be produced from unfertilised eggs. The eggs hatch after 18 to 20 months and juvenile insects are light green and soft bodied. The young Spur Legged Phasmid move across the forest floor and climb a eucalypt tree to feed on the foliage. The young grow through five instars (growth stages) before reaching adult stage.

Range
south-eastern Australia.



Classification
Class:Insecta
Order:Phasmatodea
Family:Phasmatidae
Genus:Didymuria
Species:violescens
Common Name:Spur Legged Phasmid