We (Oskar Conle und Frank Hennemann) first met each other on the international insect-fair in Frankfurt a. M. in the early 1990’s from which resulted a great friendship, close collaboration and common enthusiasm for the insect order Phasmatodea.
Oskar & Frank in French Guiana 2001 (left) and Peru 2004 (right)
In addition to breeding phasmids, we became increasingly interested in the taxonomy and classification of the Phasmatodea since 1995. It was in this year, that we published our first taxonomic papers in the German journal „Entomologische Zeitschrift“ and described the first new Phasmid species. Due to our growing interest in taxonomic research on the Phasmatodea, with the faunas of North and South America as the focal point, we have since published more than 50 mostly taxonomic papers in various renowned zoological journals around the world, which up to now (early 2009) have resulted in the descriptions of almost 100 newly discovered species/subspecies and 20 new genera. Since 1996 we visit at least one Natural History Museums or institution per year in order to compile catalogues of the contained type-material, as well as taking pictures, measurements and data of all specimens that are of importance for our studies. These research-works, which are of fundamental importance for any serious taxonomic studies, have led us to almost every relevant museum or institution world-wide which contains an important Phasmid-collection.
In the course of our studies contacts to other entomologist were made from which has developed good cooperation and collegial collaboration with numerous renowned entomologists and zoological institutions all around the world, to whom we want to express our thanks! This cooperation has several resulted in co-publications with other authors, which had not been possible to compile in any other way. We furthermore act as referees for several renowned journals checking and commenting on submitted manuscripts prior to their publication. As phasmid-specialists we are also taking part in several official research-projects mainly in South America and the Caribbean, with our task being the identification, examination and publication of all Phasmid material collected. Since 2003 we are collaborators in the „Section Rhynchota“ of the State Zoological Collections in Munich (ZSMC).
Left: Frank & Oskar with Kristien Rabaey and Rob Simoens (leaders of the community "Phasma") 2007 in Veurne. Right: Oskar & Frank with Prof. Klaus Schönitzer (State Zoological Collections Munich, ZSM; left) and Dr. Hans Mühle (Vizepresident of the Münchner Entomologische Gesellschaft, MEG; right) receiving the science-award "Förderpreis der MEG" in 2009
Since our first common expedition in 1996 we have frquently conducted collecting-trips to the tropics all of which were precisely planned and organized. Apart from collecting-trips to e.g. Malaysia, Borneo, Sri Lanka, Sulawesi, Australia or the Seychelles our current studies and projects have mainly made us visit South and Central America including Costa Rica, French Guiana, Peru, Ecuador or Mexico. The scientific results of these expeditions and collecting-trips are subsequently published in zoological journals, but due to these studies are rather complex may take several years to finish. Detailed information and many photos of our expeditions can be found in the section “Expeditions” of this website.
During the past 15 years we have both built up hughe scientific reference-collections of dried and pinned Phasmatodea, each containing several thousands of labelled specimens. Our two closely connected collections (coll. FH & coll. OC) together represent the perhaps largest Phasmid-collection in the world. In addition to rich material from all zoogeographical regions our collections contain a large number of type-specimens mostly of species that we have described during the past 15 years but also of species described by colleagues.
In addition to our interest in Phasmatodea we were leaders of the “Coleoptera Breeding Group” and editors od the “Coleoptera Breeding Group Newsletter” from 1996 to 1998. During these years we also reared and collected many beetles (Order Coleoptera) and reared many different species, some of which we kept in cages with a volume up to 4m³.
However, since the late 1990’s we entirely restricted to breeding Phasmatodea and frequently keep 50 to 60 different species in our laboratories. Up to date we have reared more than 300 different species most of which we were able to reproduce successfully. Amongst these are frequently several species that are either newly cultured in Europe, or not at all scientifically recognized yet.
In late 2000 our website „Phasmatodea – the world of stick and leaf-insects“ went online. It has since already seen several fundamental updates, but the most extensive update was made by switching to a new content-management system and completely new layout in March 2009. The main aim of our website is to provide an extensive source of information, photos and possibility for the identification of species of this fascinating insect-order, not only for scientists but also for breeders and anyone interested in the Phasmatodea. The forum, which allows to upload photos since the 2009 update, enables the amateur and Phasmid enthusiast to get in contact with other people interested in the Phasmatodea world-wide and obtaining answers, advice and support by the “Phasmatodea-community” in any way.
All those searching for special information or intending to contact us, may directly send us a message via the contact-sheet provided on the website. We are always thankful for constructive ideas and comments!
At this place we want to express our sincere thanks to all our friends and colleagues for several years of good cooperation and support!
Oskar & Frank in "Panguana" Peru im September 2004