More than 100 Peruvian Jumping Stick Insects have hatched at the Houston Zoo since October 20!
Photo Credit: Stephanie Adams/Houston Zoo
These unique insects hatched from eggs laid by the adult female in the exhibit substrate. The eggs take six months to a year to hatch. The Houston Zoo’s staff reports finding five to 10 hatchlings in the exhibit every day. They recently found 21 hatchlings in a single day!
Though they appear to be related to Walking Sticks, Peruvian Jumping Sticks are actually a species of Grasshopper. Native to Peru and Ecuador in the Amazon Basin, males and females of this species are dramatically different in appearance – an adaptation known as sexual dimorphism. Males are small and green, while females are two or three times larger than males. Females are brown and look almost exactly like a stick, complete with markings that look like bud scars. Like most grasshoppers, both males and females have large hind legs and are expert jumpers.
In the wild, these insects live in trees and feed on leaves. Their markings provide excellent camouflage that helps protect them from predators.