Onchestus rentzi
(by Sascha Eilmus)
 

OrderPhasmatodea
 
SuborderVerophasmatodea 
InfraorderAnareolatae 
Family PhasmatidaeGray, 1835
SubfamilyPhasmatinaeGray, 1835
TribePhasmatini Gray, 1835
GenusOnchestusStål, 1877
SpeciesOnchestus rentziBrock & Hasenpusch, 2006


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General Notes

  • Brock & Hasenpusch (2006) have named this species in honor of the well-known australien entomologist David Rentz

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Culture History

  • Stock 1: NE-Australia, Queensland, near Cairns, leg. Oskar Conle & Marina Friede V.2001. [culture lost after two generations]
  • Stock 2: NE-Australia, Queensland, Garradunga, Innisfail, Polly Creek, leg. Jack Hasenpusch 2007

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Origin

  • see general notes → Stock 2

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Females

  • very typical and more robust phasmids
  • about 10 - 11 cm long
  • they have well developed wings, which they open up as a defense reaction. Then the beautifully black-purple colored inside with some bright stripes of the hind wings becomes visible
  • but they do not fly
  • color is very variable amongst females from brown to nearly black
  • entire body surface is strongly garnulated - giving them a very bark-like appearance
  • they have prominent protuberances on the top of the head which gave them the name "crown stick insect"
  • mesofemora have prominent lobes

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Males

  • very typical thin phasmids
  • about 7 - 8 cm long
  • colouration of the males is brown
  • wings are well developed and they are able to fly
  • they have two spins on the top of the head

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Eggs

  • brown
  • box-shaped - really looking like a piece of bark
  • about 5 mm long
  • incubate the eggs at room temperatures (18-23°C) under dry conditions (I never remove eggs from the cage)
  • incubation time is about 4 months at 23°C

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Food Plants

  • bramble (Rubus spp.)
    is well accepted by nymphs and adults
  • other plants which are also accepted are privet (Ligustrum spp.), common hazel (Corylus avellana), Eucalyptus spp., Salal (Gaultheria shallon), Hypericum spp.

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Behavior

  • adult females of this species display an astounding bark-camouflage
  • they open up the wings as a defense reaction. Then the beautifully black-purple colored inside with some bright stripes of the hind wings becomes visible
  • while they are spreading their wings, they start to run away and make a rustling sound
  • males are good flyers

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Breeding Notes

  • an easy to breed and attractive species (wings!)
  • nymphs and adults can be kept in a quite airy cage
  • move nymphs to a bigger cage according to their size as they grow up
  • adult moult will happen after about 4 to 5 months at about 23°C.
  • females lay only a few eggs per week, which they just drop to the ground
  • nymphs and adults have been sprayed with water 5 to 6 times a week
  • only first instar nymphs need some sprayed water at the beginning, later spraying with water is not needed for a successful development

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References

  • Phasmida Species Files  (www.phasmida.orthoptera.org)
  • BROCK, P. D. & HASENPUSCH, J. (2009): The Complete Field Guide to Stick and Leaf Insects of Australia.

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