Tirachodiea biceps "Java"
(by Bruno Kneubuehler)

FamilyPhasmatidaeGray, 1835
Brunner von Wattenwyl, 1893
TribePharnaciiniGünther, 1953
GenusTirachoideaBrunner von Wattenwyl, 1893
SpeciesT. biceps(Redtenbacher, 1908)


General Notes

  • Redtenbacher described this species as Pharnacia biceps (1908)
  • 2012 - first successful culture by Bruno Kneubuehler
  • 2012 - this species has been distributed as Tirachodea biceps „Java“



  • this species has been collected on Java, but the exact locality is not known



  • big phasmids
  • about 19 – 20 cm long
  • colored in different red-brown shades
  • 2 bumps on the hind head
  • legs with many spines
  • antennae about half as long as the forelegs
  • no winged (apterous)



  • typical phasmids
  • about 12 – 14 cm long
  • body and legs mainly brown
  • two distinct bumps on the hind head
  • lateral area of the hindwings with a light green area
  • ventral side of thorax and some area of the ventral side of the abomen are green
  • legs with many spines
  • antennae shorter than the forelegs
  • fully winged
  • membranous part of hind wings (alae) is transparent, grey and with dark veins



  • about 25 mm  (L1)
  • the two bumps on the hindhead are already present (L1)
  • braun (L1)
  • antennae short
  • by L1 it is quite easy to draw a distinction between ♀♂ (by the naked eye)



  • about 4 x 4 mm
  • dark-brown with almost white areas
  • glossy
  • roundish
  • capitulum is very distinctly on egg lid (operculum)
  • micropylar plate big and very typically shaped for the genus


Food Plants

  • bramble (Rubus sp.)
    is very well accepted by freshly hatched nymphs, older nymphs and adults
  • no other food plants have been tested by me (so far)



  • nymphs and adults react rather frantically when they feel threatened (like when they are touched). They drop down, wriggle about and freeze again after a few steps
  • otherwise nymphs as well as adults are passive during the day and they usually feed during dawm / night
  • males can fly, their flight appears rather clumbsy and is quite short
  • matings occur during the night and couples stay together for a few hours only
  • a defensive spray has not been observed



  • incubation time (HH-incubation on slightly damp sand at 20 - 23 °C) is about 3 - 4 months  (F1)
  • spread some dried  (!) 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 in F1 was very high (> 50%)
  • males will be adult after about 3.5 months (at 20 – 23°C), females after about 4 – 4.5 months
  • females start laying eggs after about 2 – 3 weeks
  • eggs are flinged away forcefully - with a swing of the abodmen
  • about 30 – 40 eggs per female and week
  • adults can live for several months


Breeding Notes

  • my general notes on how to breed phasmids are a integral part of this care sheet ...
  • it is very easy to breed this species
  • as the freshly hatched nymphs are already quite big, therefore the incubation container should be big enough
  • keep the nymphs in a cage with good ventilation, but take care that the humidity does not drop too low
  • a constantly wet paper towel on the floor of the cage helps raising humidity
  • a humidity level of about 65 % rH (or higher) seems to support a healthy growth very well
  • nymphs can be kept in a Faunabox (or similar cages)
  • move nymphs to a bigger cage as they grow bigger
  • a cage of at least 40 x 40 x 60 cm (high) should be provided for 2 couples of this species
  • generally I advise to keep different phasmid species seperately (unfortunately, overcrowed cages are still too common ...)
  • I have never sprayed nymphs, adults or their cage with water
  • make shure 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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