Apple Slice trick

Sometimes it is difficult to get freshly hatched nymphs to feed on a given food plant, even though this particular plant seems to be a good food plant for that species. In such a situation, the Apple Slice trick can be very helpful.

Micadina sp Tay Yen Tu
Micadina sp. "Tay Yen Tu" feeding on apple.

Nymphs of many phasmid species like to suckle on fruit juice. This might be because they wanna take up some liquid, but it also seems that they like the sweet taste very much. In the pic are two freshly hatched nymphs of a Micadina species from Vietnam. The advantage over just spraying water is, that with the juice the nymphs will not only take up water, but also some nutrients. This could help to get their digestive system jump-started, and this also nurishes them in the very begining (when they do not yet start to feed on a food plant). And they might even develop some "feelings" of hunger, but this is of course just an interpretation.

This method has helped very much in getting the following species to feed:

  • Aschiphasma annulipes "Tapah"
  • Micadina sp. "Tay Yen Tu"

It is also possible to offer other fruits - see below the nymph of Aschiphasma annulipes on a piece of banana

Aschiphasma annulipes
Aschiphasma annulipes "Tapah" feeding on apple.

This is how it is done:

  • offer freshly cut, thin apple slices - stick them on a needle and attach these to the ceiling (or near the ceiling) of the cage with the freshly hatched nymphs. Nymphs are much more often on the ceiling of the cage than at the bottom
  • best is to offer the fresh slices in the evening, just before dawn, as nymphs of most species are mainly active during the night
  • leave the apple slices for two days at the most, then remove it. Otherwise it starts to rot and gets mouldy quickly
  • then do not offer a fresh apple slice for another day. They shall "starve" for a while and get hungry and thus (hopefully) become a bit more eager to feed on the food plants offered
  • then after one day of "starving", again offer fresh apple slices in the evening
  • go on with this rythm (two days with and then one day without apple) for some time. After some time you can increase the "starving" period to two or even three days
  • stop offering apple slices (or offer at longer intervals) once they feed nicely on the food plants offered
Apple slices in cage
Apple slices in a cage.

A freshly hatched Anthericonia anketeschke "Montverde" nymph on an apple slice

Anthericonia anketeschke
Anthericonia anketeschke feeding on apple.

A freshly hatched Aschiphasma annulipes "Tapah" nymph on an apple slice

Aschiphasma annulipes
Aschiphasma annulipes feeding on apple.