Epidares nolimetangere "Santubong"
(von Bruno Kneubühler)

SuperfamilyBacilloidea Brunner v. Wattenwil, 1893
FamilyHeteropterygidaeKirby, 1896
SubfamilyDataminaeRehn & Rehn, 1939
TribeDataminiRehn & Rehn, 1939
GenusEpidares Redtenbacher, 1906
SpeciesEpidares nolimetangere(Haan, 1842)


General Notes

  • Haan (1842) described this species as Phasma (Acanthoderus) nolimetangere
  • synonyms: Acanthoderus nolimetangere, Westwood, 1959; Tisamenus nolimetangere, Kirby, 1904; Dares (Epidares) nolimetangere, Redtenbacher 1906
  • Etymology:
    • epi- from greek epi which has multiple meanings – including "upon, at, additional"
    • dares – according to lore this was a priest of Hephaestus (the god of fire and son of Zeus) in Troy
    • nolimetangere from the latin „noli me tangere“ = "touch me not"
  • for further taxonomical informations → Phasmida Species Files
  • I would not be too much astonished, if future indepth studies (including comparative DNA-analysis) would revelal that the species Epidares nolimetangere has to be split up into different subspecies or even distinct species
  • Epidares nolimetangere is a very good example which emphasizes the importance of keeping cultures stocks from different places pure and that a breeding selection is essential. In the early 1990's two culture stocks from different localities came to Europe. One culture stock had greenish males, while the other one had reddish males. But as most phasmid breeders lacked these insights and also due to false concepts („fresh blood“) these two culture stocks became mixed up. As consequence these culture stocks have brownish males only nowadays
  • the culture stock Epidares nolimetangere „Santubong“ is no exeption - a strikt breeding selection will be important, and of course it has to be kept strictly seperat from other Epidares cultures from different localities. About half of the males of the F1-generation had „normal“ spines instead of the Y-spines. Therefore only males with Y-spines should be used for breeding to preserve this characteristic
  • this observation does also raise the question, which influcence in the natural environment does preserve the attribute of Y-spines in Epidares nolimetangere "Santubong"  ?


Culture History

  • 2012 - first successful culture by Kim  D'Hulster and Hans Lamal
  • 2014 – distributed to other breeders as Epidares nolimetangere „Santubong“



  • collected by Kim D'Hulster (Belgium) and Hans Lamal (Belgium) in Damai (near Mt. Santubong, Sarawak, Malaysia) at around 100 masl in 2012. This location is quite near to the beach. Most specimens have been found on Clitemia hirta just alongside a road, which belongs to the Permai resort



  • very sturdy and spiny phasmids
  • body length about 4.5 cm
  • reddish-brown coloration
  • long spines on head, thorax and abdomen
  • spines on the thorax are (contrary to the males) only weakly Y-shaped
  • subgenital plate about as long as the abdominal ending
  • antennae a bit longer than the forelegs
  • the area apicalis (a taxonomical criterion) is well visible on the inner side of the tibias (see photos)



  • sehr stachelige Phasmiden
  • body length about 3.5 cm
  • reddish-brown coloration, with darker areas which can greenish-black on the head and thorax
  • light colored stripe dorsally
  • spines on the thorax conspicuously Y-shaped
  • but about half of the males of the F1-generation had „normal“ spines instead of these Y-shaped spines. Therefore it will be very important that only males with conspicuously Y-shaped spines on the thorax will be used for breeding



  • body length about 12 mm (L1)
  • green-brown
  • spines visible after hatching
  • even in L1 it is quite easy to draw a distinction between ♀♂ (by the naked eye)



  • about 3.5 x 2.5 mm
  • roundish-oval
  • very hairy
  • if hairs are removed, the warty surface becomes visible
  • no distinct capitulum present on the operculum (lid)
  • micropylar plate very small and hardly visible


Food Plants

  • it is very much recommendede to cut away the edges of the leaves for nymphs in L1
  • regularly change the plants and the water in which they stand
  • bramble (Rubus spp.)
    is very well accepted by nymphs and adults
  • their natural food plant belongs to the genus Clidemia



  • nymphs as well as adult are passive during the day and out and about feeding at night
  • if being touched, small nymphs (L1) are passive and feign death
  • mating occur usually during the night, males do not stay with the same for a prolonged time
  • eggs are just dropped
  • eggs adhere to eachother easily, as their hairs interlock
  • such hairy eggs should adhere easily to substrate like moss, which should keep the eggs in a rather safe environment for incubation in nature



  • incubation time (HH-incubation on slightly damp sand at 20 - 23 °C) is about 3 - 4 months
  • please note, that for phasmids it is not uncommon that some nymphs hatch a few or many months after the first nymphs hatched
  • spread some dry (!) moss over the eggs - this will make it much easier for the nymphs to hatch unscathed and it also reduces mould growth to some extend
  • hatching ratio was very high (> 50%)
  • males will be adult after about 8 months (at 20 – 23°C), females after about 10 or more months
  • females start laying eggs after about 3 – 4 weeks
  • about 3 eggs per female and week
  • adults can live for several months


Breeding Notes

  • my general notes on how to breed phasmids are an integral part of this care sheet
  • it is recommend to keep this species in a seperate cage. The culture is much more likely to be successful than in an multi-species cage which are all too often badly crowed
  • level of difficulty = 1        (1 = very easy / 5 = very difficult)
  • keep nymphs seperate from the adults. This makes it much easier to monitor their developement and they are protected from being disturbed or even harmed by the much bigger adults (like during their moults)
  • take care that the humidity in the cage does not drop too low
  • a constantly wet paper towel on the floor of the cage helps raising humidity
  • nymphs can be kept in a Faunabox (or similar cages like Faunarium)
  • move nymphs to a bigger cage as they grow bigger
  • a cage of at least 30 x 30 x 30 cm height should be provided for 6 – 7 adult couples
  • I have never sprayed nymphs, adults or their cage with water
  • make sure that nymphs, which are about to undergo their adult moult, do not find places in the cage which would not offer them enough space beneath to moult successfully



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

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