Oreophoetes topoense "Tena"

Oreophoetes topoense "Topo"

(by Bruno Kneubuehler)


FamilyDiapheromeridaeKirby, 1904
SubfamilyDiapheromerinaeKirby, 1904
TribeOreophoetiniZompro, 2001
GenusOreophoetes  Rehn, 1904
SpeciesOreophoetes topoenseConle et al., 2009


General Notes

  • Oreophoetes topoense "Topo"
    • 2008 - first successful culture by Bruno Kneubuehler
    • 2008 - at first I have distributed this species as Oreophoetes peruana nigripes to other breeders, but it turned out that this identification was wrong....
    • 2008 - distributed as Oreophoetes sp. "Rio Topo"
    • 2009 - this species has been described in JOR (Journal of Orthoptera Reserach):
      Studies on Neotropical Phasmatodea IX: Oreophoetes topoense n. sp. — a New Colorful Walking-Stick from Central Ecuador (Phasmatodea: Diapheromeridae: Diapheromerinae: Oreophoetini)
      Oskar V. Conle, Frank H. Hennemann, Horst Käch and Bruno Kneubühler (Dezember 2009)
  • Oreophoetes topoense "Tena"
    • 2010 - a new stock from Tena is in culture (O. topoense "Tena")



  • O. topoense "Rio Topo" - this culture stock has been collected by Horst Kaech (Ecuador) in November 2007 at Rio Topo (Tunguragua) in Ecuador. They were found on (an feeding on) Piperaceae. And other plants of this family were also accepted as food plant in Ecuador. This indicates that Oreophoetes may be not strict fern feeders in the wild
  • O. topoense "Tena" - this culture stock has been collected in March 2010 by Michael Wuest (Switzerland) in the area of Tena (Ecuador) on fern. Tena is about 200 km away from the type locality at Rio Topo
  • culture stocks from distant localities should be kept sepeart, even though there are no apparent differences



  • typical wingless stick insects - about 5,5 – 6 cm long
  • beautifully coloured insects
  • O. topoense "Rio Topo" - glossy yellow-black
  • O. topoense "Tena" - glossy yellow-black and reddish-black specimens
  • basically femeles are coloured quite similarly to females of O. peruana



  • typical wingless stick insects - about 4,5 – 5 cm long
  • the colouration of male Oreophoetes sp. "Rio Topo, Ecuador" differs a lot from males of O. peruana
  • they are glossy black all over the body, with some vivid red spot on the head and at the leg joints
  • just after the adult moult, the males do still have yellow spots like the females. It takes some days until the red colour develops



  • lenticular shaped, dimensions about 2,5 x 2 mm
  • dark brown with some ligher brown and even somewhat translucent spots. The outer rim is light brown
  • they darken as the embryo inside grows older
  • incubation at room temperatures (18 – 25°C) on a damp, but not wet substrate. Incubation time is about 3 – 4 months


Food Plants

  • nymphs and adults readily accept fern from the forest
  • I have not found any other food plant for them here


Breeding Notes

  • cultivation of this species is easy - if you have access to enough fern which is their food plant
  • freshly hatched nymphs are already almost black with yellow spots
  • keep nymphs as well as adults in a fairly airy cage and keep the humidity high with wet paper towels on the cage bottom
  • I am spraying neither nymphs nor adults with water
  • they grow up quite fast - males mature in about 3 months, females in about 4 months (at room temperatures)
  • some 2 weeks after their final moult, females start laying eggs, about 2-3 a day. They just let them drop to the ground
  • mating takes place at night, males do not stay with a female for a long time
  • they can be seen active during the day too
  • from the prothoracic glands they can produce a milk-white defensive secretion when they feel threatened. This secretion smells like old tires and probably causes a (non-permanent ?) burning sensation when it comes in contact with the mucous membranes in the mouth or in the eyes. Thus one should be careful when handle them



  • Phasmida Species Files  (www.phasmida.orthoptera.org)


direct link to this category

direct link to category: topoense