Method IV. “Tree-Knocking”

This technique consists in to disturb the phasmids on the plants in order to make them move and then caught them with a butterfly net. This method is usually used during the daytime.

Basic equipment needed:

  • Plastic boxes and zip bags.
  • Butterfly net.
  • Camera and macro equipment (lens and flash). Batteries.
  • GPS or smartphone with an App to take coordinates.

Summary of the workflow for this method:

  • Select a suitable collecting area during daytime.
  • Start knocking shrubs and small trees (be careful, it is not needed to destroy the plants!) to see if phasmids drop down or fly away.
  • When finding a phasmid, take pictures if possible and coordinates.
  • Collect the phasmid, some leaves of the plant where it was (especially if was feeding on it) and put them carefully in the plastic container.

Detailed information:

This daytime collecting technique is predominantly applied by insect suppliers in SE-Asia for collecting the most colourful, well-flying species of the subfamily Necrosciinae.

A butterfly with an extendible handle is used to knock phasmids from the treetops. Due to the disturbance, eventual insects will fly off and exhibit their often brightly coloured wings. When a phasmid is dislodged from a treetop, it may, if you are fortunate, fly somewhere close to the net. Then an upwards or sideways sweep with the net is made in order to catch the insect. As soon as the insect is in the net, the frame should be twisted around, forming a bag with the insect in it. If not twisted round, the insect will most probably fly away on the long way to the ground. However, using a net effectively will take you some practice, especially if a long handle is used.

As already mentioned above, most of the beautiful, winged species sold by local dealers in Peninsular Malaysia, Thailand or Indonesia are caught using this technique. The numbers of insects collected tend to be variable but this is sometimes a considerably productive method, especially in means of collecting species, which are not found on low growing plants at night (see Method I).