Thursday, September 17, 2009

A Marvel

In all things of nature there is something of the marvelous - Aristotle

Last year we met a wonderful stick bug who met a very unfortunate demise. Satch loved it so...and I loved the joy it brought him. I've been hoping that Satch would find another and because I am the luckiest person on earth, he found one in our garden yesterday! He named it Twiggy.

I am trying to find information on the care and feeding of stick bugs as I think Satch would enjoy having it winter with us. If there's anyone out in the blogosphere with such info, please contact us.

I should mention once again, that I'm not fond of insects. Truthfully, I have a bit of an aversion...especially to the large variety, moreover to the jumping/flying variety. However, I try not to let it show because I'm grateful for the happiness they bring my son.

Have a good weekend! See you Monday.

*Postscript: We received this wonderfully informative email from Mr. Erwin, the entomologist at Smithsonian's Museum of Natural History...

Dear Ms. Cook:

We maintain cultures of several species of tropical stick insects here in the Insect Zoo. The adults mate and lay eggs throughout the year as they do in the tropics.

You have a species of temperate stick insect that you found in your garden in Virginia. These stick insects live in the tree canopies for the most part. There the adults feed on leaves, mate, and lay eggs on the leaves. When the leaves fall to the ground in the autumn, so fall the eggs. The eggs overwinter on the leaves. When day length and temperature increase in the spring, the eggs hatch. The hatchling stick insects climb to the tops of the trees to feed and grow. Once they reach the adult stage, the reproductive cycle begins again.

Your stick insect species has evolved to deal with a harsh winter by overwintering in the egg stage. The adults die with the first frosts as do adult mantids. You might be able to keep this individual adult alive for awhile feeding it lettuce and tree leaves such as oak. I doubt that this individual can last until next spring for release back into the wild. Your species has evolved to last one growing season at this temperate latitude.

If you’d like to telephone me, I can be reached at the number listed below.

Sincerely yours,
Nathan Erwin
Insect Zoo/Butterfly Pavilion Manager
National Museum of Natural History

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posted by Wendy at 5:00 AM


Blogger wayfarer said...

We just found one too. I was so surprised. My son really wanted to bring it home in his bug house but i wouldn't let him because i didn't know what to feed him. Last year, our caterpillar didn't make it because we fed him the wrong leaves. My bug loving son was devastated. I wish i would have read this post before and he could have. :-)

9:18 PM  

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