Moulting walkingstick

walkingstick with shed exoskeleton

Regular readers will have likely noted that my posts have been a little bit sparse recently. This is not for any lack of possible content or interest in my part – I have quite an assortment of photos sitting on my hard drive that I’ve taken over the last few weeks and would have made for good posts. Mostly it’s just been that time has been short. I expect it to become shorter still, as we come up on the manuscript deadline for the field guide to moths and my co-author Dave and I work diligently to make sure we’ve got all the pieces pulled together. I’ve been thinking for a while that I may need to put the blog on a semi-hiatus for the final month. I won’t shut down altogether, but I will probably only be posting once a week. Once the material has been submitted, at the beginning of September, I should be able to resume my normal posting schedule. So I hope you’ll all bear with me till then. (Incidentally, although we submit the material in about a month, the book itself will be another year and a half before it hits shelves – this is because of the time required for editing and layout and proofing and everything else that goes into producing a book, which, it turns out, is all rather more time-consuming than I’d realized.)

Today’s photos were taken at our Blue Lakes MAPS station this past week. It’s a Northern Walkingstick, Diapheromera femorata, which just recently emerged from and is still clinging to its freshly-moulted exoskeleton. Dan actually found it hanging from a shrub beside the path; he finds a lot of my most interesting critters. Walkingsticks don’t have distinct larval and adult stages; instead, they hatch from the egg resembling a miniature adult, and just grow larger with each successive moult. This individual is a male, I think, as determined by its “twigginess” (females are stockier in build). I posted about walkingsticks a couple of autumns ago when I had one arrive at my moth trap one night. You can read the original post here.

walkingstick with shed exoskeleton

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16 responses to “Moulting walkingstick

  1. Wonderful find and photo! Thanks for sharing.

  2. Just amazing!! May have gone unnoticed by most. Your new field guide has been a long time in the making. From beginning to end, what do you estimate? There are many of us who have been very patiently waiting!! ~karen

  3. Great find! These critters are so cool to begin with, but seeing one still holding on to the old skin is neat.

  4. I have seen few walking sticks in my life. It would be great to find one when one or more of my grandchildren were with me as they would be enthralled. — barbara

  5. I will gladly be patient and am anxiously waiting for that new book. I love your blog and this will give me time to read earlier entries. Good luck on the manuscript.

  6. Looks like an act from Cirque du Soleil!

  7. Very cool. I agree with Lavendarbay- looks like an artistic acrobat!

  8. those are beautiful photos, we don’t have anything like that in my (french) neck of the woods.

    Good luck with pulling it together for the moth guide. I’ll bet that’s frustrating, having to wait an extra year-and-a-half for it to hit the shelves. Hope you survive the wait!

  9. Thanks, everyone, for the comments! It was definitely a very neat find.

    @Karen – I first pitched the idea of a moth guide to my co-author Dave in early spring 2008; it will finally hit store shelves (if all goes well) in mid- to late spring 2012, just over four years. We’ve had two years to prepare the manuscript for submission, and it will take a further 18 months for the publisher to lay all our material out in their templates, review and edit it, and reach a final approval to send it to the printer.

    @Cheryl – Thanks, and I can’t wait for it to finally be available for folks!

    @Tony – Thanks, also. Yeah, the length of time the whole process has taken has been a little frustrating, not having realized just how long it requires to produce a book, but I hope the end product will be worth the wait!

  10. Amazing!!! moulting walking stick insect! wow….

  11. Very nice. I’ve never even seen photos of a walking stick molting before. Great catch.

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