COMMON BODY PLAN: Some phasmids have cylindrical stick-like bodies, while others have flattened, leaflike shapes. Many species are wingless, or have reduced wings. The thorax is long in the winged species, since it houses the flight muscles, and is typically much shorter in the wingless forms. Where present, the first pair of wings is narrow, while the hind wings are broad, with straight veins along their length and multiple cross-veins. The body is often further modified to resemble vegetation, with ridges resembling leaf veins, bark-like tubercles, and other forms of camouflage. A few species are even able to change their pigmentation to match their surroundings. The mouthparts project out from the head. Chewing mandibles are uniform across species. The legs are typically long and slender, and some species are capable of limb shedding. Phasmids have long, slender antennae, as long as or longer than the rest of the body in some species
PHYLOGENY: Stick insects phylogenetic relationships among the major groups are virtually unknown. However, there is some research pointing towards the wings of the groups re-evolving.
LIFE CYCLE: A single female lays from 100 to 1,200 eggs after mating, depending on the species. Many species of phasmids are parthenogenic, meaning the females lay eggs without needing to mate with males to produce offspring. Eggs from virgin mothers are entirely female and hatch into nymphs that are exact copies of their mothers.
DISTRIBUTION AND NICHE: Phasmatodea can be found all over the world except for the Antarctic and Patagonia. Stick insects, like praying mantises, show rocking behavior in which the insect makes rhythmic, repetitive, side-to-side movements. These movements are most important in allowing the insects to discriminate objects from the background by relative motion. Rocking movements by these generally sedentary insects may replace flying or running as a source of relative motion to help them discern objects in the foreground.
HUMAN CONNECTIONS: Stick insects are often kept in captivity: almost 300 species have been reared in laboratories or as pets. The most commonly kept is the Indian (or laboratory) stick insect, Carausius morosus, which eats vegetables such as lettuce.
NAME OF SPECIES: Walking sticks, stick bugs
DISTINGUISHING CHARACTERISTICS: Their natural camouflage makes them difficult for predators to detect, but many species have a secondary line of defense in the form of startle displays, spines or toxic secretions. The genus Phobaeticus includes the world's longest insects.
WORKS CITED: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phasmatodea https://whitinglab.byu.edu/Research/Phylogenies/Phasmatodea