Diapherodes gigantea
(by Giacomo Ricca - www.welikebugs.com)
 

OrderPhasmatodea
 
SuborderVerophasmatodea 
InfraorderAnareolatae 
FamilyPhasmatidaeGray, 1835
SubfamilyCladomorphinaeBrunner von Wattenwyl, 1893
TribeCranidiniiGünther, 1953
GenusDiapherodesGray, 1835
SpeciesD. gigantea
Gmelin, 1789

  
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General Notes

  • etymology - from the Greek διαφέρω (diaphero) which means literally to carry or bear into different directions and from the Latin gigas which means gigantic
  • until 2014 4 different Diapherodes species are or have been in culture – see PSG list on Phasmatodea.com
  • this species is endemic to different Caribbean islands - e.g. Grenada

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Females

  • big phasmids, 15-16 cm long
  • beautiful green coloration over the whole body
  • mesothorax and metathorax has laterally a row of pink spines
  • spines on the metathorax legs
  • yellow antennas 7 cm long
  • some small humps on the mesothorax
  • fore wings undeveloped
  • suckers between nails which glue them to the branches
  • yellow eyes

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Males

  • medium sized, 11 cm long
  • brown all over the body, with green spots on metathorax and mesothorax near legs
  • brownish antennas 8 cm long
  • fore wings as well as hind wings well developed
  • first part of the hind wings are bordered with a white band
  • hind wings color may vary from light brown to reddish

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Nymphs

  • about 30 mm (L1)
  • brownish with green head (L1)
  • generally green from L2 on
  • from L3 sex can be distinguished by naked eye

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Eggs

  • about 5 x 3 mm
  • dark brown
  • surface slightly textured
  • egg-shaped

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Food Plants

  • Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus spp.)
    food plant in the wild, well accepted at all stages. They eat mainly leaves but partially also fresh and soft branches
  • bramble (Rubus spp.)
    quite well accepted by adults
  • oak (Quercus spp., Quercus ilex)

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Behavior

  • males not able to fly but can make long jumps
  • females wing do not jump
  • females fling the eggs away  with a swing of their abdomen
  • mating occurs at any time, males can stay with one female for some hours
  • nymphs are calm, even when they are being touched
  • adult males crawl away or even jump when threatened
  • no other defensive behavior observed

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Development

  • incubation (on a wet paper towels sheet or vermiculite) at 20-23°C takes about 8-9 months
  • hatching ration can be very high (75%)
  • males become adults in about 5 months and live for another 6 months
  • females become adults in about 6 months and live for 9-12 months
  • few weeks after mating, the females start to fling eggs away, 1-2 per day

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Breeding Notes

  • easy to keep species and very beautiful
  • humidity at 60% is fine for the whole development
  • temperature can be between 20°C and 27°C
  • a wet paper towels at the bottom of the cage keeps the correct humidity level
  • spray once a day during summer, especially in the evening
  • nymphs can be kept in a Faunabox (or similar cages)
  • make sure that they have always the space to molt, especially just before becoming adult
  • nymph mortality is usually very low
  • move nymphs to a bigger cage as they grow bigger
  • a cage of at least 60 x 49 x 30 cm should be provided 5 adult couples of this species

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References

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

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