Parasites & Diseases

Special care must be taken to check the freshly cut food for the presence of spiders, caterpillars etc. (a particular problem in the late summer), which should not be introduced into the breeding cages. Therefore it has proven useful to thoroughly wash the fresh food in a shower or similar, before it is placed in the cages.


During the winter aphids can cause considerable problems, as either aphid eggs or small nymphs develop and breed quickly in the warm Eier von Extatosoma tiaratumclimate and absence of predators, when foodplants are brought indoors. The excrements produced by the aphids (honeydew) make cleaning the cages more difficult and encourages the development of mould which especially harms more fragile species. Introducing ladybirds (Coccinella sptempunctata (LINNÈ)) as predators for the biological control of the aphids has proven unsuitable because Eggs of Extatosoma tiaratumthe ladybirds would not only eat the aphids but newly hatched phasmids as well (BRAGG, 1991).
The eggs of several species are often affected by mould. E.g. in Extatosoma tiaratum and Acrophylla wuelfingi mould develops only a few days after the eggs are laid. The mould readily grows on the surface of the egg-capsule of these species but does not seem to have an apparent adverse effect on the development of the embryo. Slightly spraying the eggs with Rivanol or methyl hydroxybenzoate has proven successful in reducing the incidence of mould. Otherwise, eggs which go mouldy are often ones which contain dead embryos or were already damaged before incubation.