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Monday, June 15, 2009

Peruvian jumping sticks hatched

Posted by: Sue Andersen, Bug World Keeper

Jumping stick babies hatched last week, and right now keepers are tending to them behind the scenes while mom and dad are on display in the Bug World exhibit. Here’s a sneak peek of what they look like:




(That's baby on the keeper's hand, mom in the middle, and dad on the right)

This amazing "stick bug" is actually a grasshopper species. This insect, native to the upper Amazon Basin of Peru and Ecuador, is a great example of sexual dimorphism, which in this case means the female and male look like different animals. The male is smaller and green with white "face" marking, and the female is several times the male’s size, tan-dark brown, and looks exactly like a stick! She even has markings that look like bud scars.

The eggs of this species take nine months to a year to hatch, and the female oviposits them in the soil, burrowing her abdomen in the substrate all the way to her rear legs!

Woodland Park Zoo has kept these animals since mid-2005, but has only recently displayed them, along with Peruvian fire stick insects, in Bug World. Come check them out!

Photos by Ryan Hawk.

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