Just a quick post as I’m feeling mighty tired and I still have lots of work to do on the earwig collections. There are currently live phasmids in the Entomology department. One is an Australian species that feeds on eucalyptus. The other species (which is most likely an Indian Stick Insect- I will have to ask the breeder) has been coaxed into feeding on bramble.
The Australian species began to sway back and forth when I picked it up. This is most likely a further form of crypsis to mimic a twig swaying in the breeze, but there is also evidence to suggest that this helps the insect to see better and discern which objects are in the foreground and background.
Phasmid eggs are amazing! Hungry ants often carry the eggs back to their nests, mistaking them for seeds. However, the ants only eat the capitulum, leaving the rest of the “seed” to hatch into a phasmid nymph, that at first resembles an ant! The young phasmid then quickly runs to safety when it finds the nearest tree.
Sir Attenborough explains more: