THE STRANGEST INSECT OF THEM ALL
Another article by our local author Alan Holmes. This time Alan gives a brief insight into the Stick Insect. One of the many strange creatures that we are blessed to have hanging around at Needles Lodge.
If you have been in the Bushveld in the warmer months, you will have seen the strange creatures known as Stick Insects! They are so distinctive in their appearance that it is impossible to mistake them for anything else. Even if you have never seen one before you will know exactly what it is when you see one!
They look just like sticks and will sit motionless for hours, swaying in the breeze in the same way that a twig will. This is their only defence mechanism against predators as it helps to make them very difficult to see. They are preyed upon mainly by birds, so they tend to move around at night when birds aren’t active. They are vegetarian and eat the plants that they move around on.
Their stick-like appearance is not the only strange thing about them, however! A little-known fact is that many of the ones you will see are female. In fact, there are many species of Stick Insects where scientists have not yet identified males at all! They reproduce by a process known as parthenogenesis, in which an embryo develops spontaneously in an unfertilized egg! They are lazy mothers, simply laying eggs while on the move at the rate of one a day over a three-month period. The nymphs resemble the adults and must fend for themselves.
While the young are growing, they can regenerate any limb they might lose to predation in a process known as autonomy.
They are unable to jump like other insects, although some species have wings and can fly.
All these attributes make Stick Insects excellent candidates for the title “The Strangest Insect of All”!
From your Luxury Safari Accommodation at Needles Lodge, bordering Kerger Park, these amazing insects can be seen on a walk away through this unique Nature Conservancy.