October 01, 2004

Friday Stick Blogging

from - smijer

Forget Kerry's missed opportunities, Bush's miserable failures, and further deconstruction of the debate. I'm tired and a little bit under the weather. So I'm going to feature a visitor I found on my door today. We call it a walking stick, but Carl Linnaeus would have called it a member of Diapheromera femorata. These insects are truly striking. They are a member of the order Phasmida, and they are extraordinarily adept at camouflage. I'm not sure how this individual found it's way to my door, or what it hoped to accomplish by being there, but I consider it lucky, as I never would have seen it had it been perched in a more natural pose.

This is it, dead on. It is facing the top of the picture. The two hooks that resemble a broken loop at the bottom are are adaptations for holding a female stick in place during love-making. It must be sad to live in a world where you can't rely on them hanging around just for the sheer fun of it.... Ok, that wasn't fair. Obviously, the claspers aren't going to prevent her wandering off during the middle of intercourse. They are adaptations for preventing "slippage". As such, I'm just going to leave the sentence about how nice it must be to live in a world where... ...incomplete. But I'll venture so far as to say that you might have found the words "hands free" after those ellipses somewhere. This individual is obviously a male. If you enlarge it and stare hard, you can see it's little back eyes protruding from the sides of its head:

Walking Stick

Here's the view from above. You see only four legs extended to the sides. The last two legs are the extensions that look like obscenely thick and long antennae at the top. They aren't visible in these photos, but the walking stick, does also have obscenely long (if not thick) antennae:

Top View

From below. Notice how it's posterior resembles a human face, or more morbidly, a skull

Skull Butt

All of these pictures are clickable, and clicking is recommended. Yes, the door is long overdue a new coat of paint. I know. It's on the list.


Posted by smijer at October 1, 2004 09:58 PM

I love these things! I used to raise them, and kept a regular colony of them in my home. We had to let them die off when we were getting ready for a major cross-country move, though, and haven't started 'em up again.

univar.jpg Posted by PZ Myers on October 2, 2004 10:45 AM
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