We had despaired of our stick bugs’ ever having babies. My older son, whose science teacher had given him the three stick bugs that I described in an earlier post, had told me that one of his friend’s stick bugs had had babies very soon after they were brought home from school — and that the parent bugs proceeded to eat all their babies!
I’d read that the insects produce eggs after a certain number of moltings, but I figured that we were well past that number by now. I was also beginning to think that my son’s science teacher was correct: that they didn’t reproduced parthenogenically, there were male and female insects, and that we’d somehow managed to get three of the same sex.
After eight months, the stick insects had grown quite big and were now indistinguishable from one another. Then about six weeks ago, one of them went toes up, leaving us with only two. I think my wife was looking forward to being stick bug-free in the not too distant future.
And then yesterday, when I was adding a bit of lettuce to the cage, I noticed something on one of the bugs’ legs: a miniature bug! Look, I shouted to my wife, the stick bugs have bred! And then, looking more closely at the cage, I began to see little stick bugs everywhere and tiny stick bug casings lying in the soil. (I’m hoping it’s because the little fellas have already molted. The alternative would be that the parents have sucked the juice out of the little carcasses.) I ended up pulling about ten from the cage, luring them onto chopsticks, and putting them in our original cage, safe from the clutches of their parents.
So much for the stick bug-free future! Meanwhile, I haven’t been able to convince anyone else in my household that we should take the two big ones out of the cage and let them roam around a bit, maybe race down the hallway — a little fling before they go the way of all things.
What do you suppose would be on a stick bug’s bucket list?