At times phasmid breeders would like to be able to distinguish between male and female
nymphs - for different reasons. This might be because we can only keep a limited number
of nyphms, although many more would be hatching. And we wanna make sure that we
retain male and female nymphs. Or we only have very few nymphs and would like to get
some more from a fellow breeder.

On the morphological level, the primary sexual characteristics are already even at the first
nymphal stage just after hatching (generally called L1). And for quite a number of species it
is rather easy to see the difference between males and females in L1, even to the naked
eye. This is especially true for big and bulky species (like Phryganistria, Achrioptera, Haaniella)

But in other species, especially thin ones with small nymphs (like most Necrosciinae), it is
difficult to see these difference at a very early nymphal stag unless one has a microscope
at hand. For such species one has to wait until L4 or even L5 before these difference
between male and female nymphs become apparent

Below you find infos for different species - on how to distinguish male and female nymphs


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   Achrioptera fallax
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the difference is easily visible even in the first nymphal stage (L1):

  • the developing poculum of male nymphs is easily visible ventrally on the 9th abdominal segment as a small "hump"
  • female nymphs lack this "hump", but with a good magnifying glass the developing gonapophyses and subgenital plate are visible ventrally on the 8th abdominal segment
     

click here for pic

 

and in the 3rd nymphs stage (L3), this difference is even more pronounced:

  • the developing poculum of male nymphs is a big "hump"
  • the developing subgenital plate of female nymphs already reaches to the middle of the 10th abdominal segment
     

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   Anchiale sp. "Buru"
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the difference is easily visible in the 3rd nymphal stage (L3):

  • the developing poculum of male nymphs is visible ventrally on the 9th abdominal segment as a small "hump"
  • female nymphs lack this "hump", but with a good magnifying glass the developing gonapophyses and subgenital plate are visible ventrally on the 8th / 9th abdominal segment
     

click here for pic
 

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   Epidares nolimetangere
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in this species the difference is easily recognizable even in L1. Male nymphs have a small hump (which is the developing poculum) at the ventral side of the 9th abdominal segment, whilst the females lack this hump on the 9th abdominal segment
 
Photocredit: Ivan Simonovic
 
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   Eurycnema versirubra"Timor"
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in this species the difference is easily recognizable even in L1. Male nymphs have a small hump (which is the developing poculum) at the ventral side of the 9th abdominal segment, whilst the females lack this hump on the 9th abdominal segment
 
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   Heteropteryx dilatata
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the difference is easily visible in the 2nd larval stage (L2):

  • the developing poculum of male nymphs is very distinct ventrally on the 8th abdominal segment
  • female nymphs have a much longer supraanal plate (dorsally, end of abdomen)
  • these differences are also well visible in L1 (just no pics of this yet)
     
Photocredit: Ivan Simonovic
 
 

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   Phryganistria bachmaensis "Bach Ma"
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the difference is easily visible in the 3rd nymphal stage (L3):

  • the developing poculum of male nymphs is visible ventrally on the 9th abdominal segment as a small "hump"
  • female nymphs lack this "hump", but with a good magnifying glass the developing gonapophyses and subgenital plate are visible ventrally on the 8th / 9th abdominal segment
  • these differences are also visible in L1, though less obviously (seee Phryganistria sp. "Da Krong")
     

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  • furthemore, female nymphs in L3 have dark colored lobes on the sides of the 7. abdominal segment. These lobes are almost absent in male nymphs
  • and male nymphs in L3 have long, well developed lobes at the end of the 10. abdominal segment ("latero-posterior lobes")
     

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   Phryganistria sp. "Da Krong"
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the difference is easily visible in the 1st nymphal stage (L1):

  • the developing poculum of male nymphs is visible ventrally on the 9th abdominal segment as a small "hump"
  • female nymphs lack this "hump", but with a good magnifying glass the developing gonapophyses and subgenital plate are visible ventrally on the 8th / 9th abdominal segment
     

click here for pic
 

   Phyllium celebicum "Sulawesi"
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the difference is easily recognizable by L3:
  • the 7th abdominal segment's outer border is much wider in female nymphs than in male nymphs
  • males nymphs abdomen is more pointed, while the female nymph's abdomen appears rather angular
  • with a magnifiying glass it is easily visible that male nymphs have a small hump (the developing poculum) at the ventral side of the 9th abdominal segment. And female nymphs have a developing subgenital plate and gonapophyses ventrally on the 8th abdominal segment
 
 

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   Phyllium giganteum "Tapah
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ventral abdominal ending of female (left) and male (right) nymph in L2
 
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ventral abdominal ending of female (left) and male (right) nymph - developing primary sexual characteristics (gonapoyphyses, poculum) are already visible (at least with a good magnifying glass)
 
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wing buds for female (left) and male (right) nymphs in L2 - the difference in this secondary sexual characteristic is easy to see with a magnifying glass
 
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female (left) and male (right) nymph in L2. Males do have even at this stage a more bell-shaped abdomen. But some females have quite a similar shape of the abdomen. Therefore this characteristic is to be taken with a grain of salt
 
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female (left) and male (right) nymph in L3 - with details of the wings buds. At this stage, males nymphs can easily be distinguised from female nymphs by their already much bigger hind wing buds (which is a secondary sexual characteristic)
 
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female (left) and male (right) nymph in L4 - with details of the wings buds. At this stage, the hindwing buds of male nymphs are already quite big and easily recognisable. At this stage, nymphs of both sexes are still about the same size
 
click here for pic
 
 
 
female (left) and male (right) nymph in L4 - with details of the primary sexual characteristics (abdominal ending, ventrally). The developing gonapophyses of female nymphs (ventrally on the 8th and 9th abdominal segment) are easily visible with a good magnifying glass. On the other hand, the ventral side of the 9th abdominal segement of male nymphs is fully covered by the developing poculum
 
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