Extatosoma tiaratum, PSG 9, (Macleay's Spectre Stick Insect )
Australia and New Guinea.
Bramble, Eucalyptus, Salal. Hazel, Hypericum, Raspberry, Firethorn, Oak, Hawthorn
Adult length -
females up to 16 cm, males up to 10 cm.
Freshly hatched nymphs can be kept in a fauna box, adults should be housed in an appropriate size terrarium. Even a gauze cage works well. Just make sure they are kept well ventilated.
Incubation time eggs -
fertilized eggs should hatch between 6 to 8 months;
parthenogenetic eggs have a prolonged incubation time and will hatch after 9 months or even after a year or more. Patience is required.
Experience with this species -
Even though they are labelled as an easy to breed species, personally I completely failed more than once. Eggs should be moistened once in a while, but beware; keeping them too wet can cause mold growth and will severely reduce viability of the eggs. The outside material of E. tiaratum eggs consists of lipids and other organic compounds that ants identify as food. They carry these eggs to their colony, consume the edible outer portion, and dump the intact eggs into their waste piles.
Luckily for captive breeding, the ants eating the edible outer layer is not crucial to development, so they will hatch just as healthy without the need for any removal of the outer layer, which is not easily visible (info Wikipedia)
Freshly hatched nymphs mimic ants of the genus Leptomyrmex, or spider ants. Herefore, they are likely to be left alone by most predators, since the ants they mimic have a very painful and toxic bite.
Growing up and reaching adulthood takes several months, about 5 months for males, 6 for females.
Once the female became adult, she will prepare for mating and laying eggs. If males are not present, she will engage in parthenogenesis, and only female nymphs will emerge from these parthenogenetic eggs.
Eggs are flicked away and can be heard tapping against the glass of the enclosure. Although they look quite ferocious, they are rather docile and friendly. These are undoubtedly the most popular pet phasmid.
Startled females spray harmless and colourless chemical that resembles the smell of vanilla or toffee, which is quite pleasant to humans but deters most predators.