Stick insect (Spiny) Micrarchus hystriculeus
Binominal name: Micrarchus hystriculeus
Synonym: Micrarchus parvulus
Common name: New Zealand Spiny Stick Insect, Rough-Skinned Stick Insect.
Micrarchus hystriculeus is a native species of stick insect found in Otago Peninsula, Bank's Peninsula and the southern Wairarapa in the North Island. This species can be brown or green in colour. Females are >56 mm in body length while the males are smaller >43mm. The adults are quite prickly, with two rows of spines along their back and smaller spikes on their legs. Adults often move down during the day to the base of the plants on whose leaves they feed on. Here they hide among the fallen twigs and leaves at the plants base where they are hard to find. The nymphs of this species stay among the foliage. After resting hidden during the day they become active at dusk. They move very slowly. They commonly found on the New Zealand bush lawyer, ribbonwood trees and exotic roses bushes.
A bizarre behaviour of stick insects is their “dance”, where the insect sways back and forwards for hours in a peculiar motion, the function of which is a mystery.
Predation by introduced wasps, rats and possums are a threat.
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