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Collage of WonderLab experience photos

Fitzgerald Hall of Natural Science

Northern Walking Stick

Northern Walking Stick by Paula M. GrezNorthern Walking Stick
Diapheromera femorata

Northern walking sticks are one of the most common species of walking sticks in the United States. They live six to eight months in the wild, and their life cycle has three stages: egg, nymph, and adult. After they hatch from eggs, nymphs look like tiny bright green adults only a orthern walking sticks are one of the most common species of walking sticks in the United States. They live six to eight months in the wild, and their life cycle has three stages: egg, few millimeters long. They go through a series of five to six molts, shedding their exoskeleton, and grow to be three to four inches long as adults. 

Habitat and Range
Walking sticks are generally found in forests or heavily wooded areas. As adults, they typically spend their time high up in the leaves of the canopy. Northern walking sticks are found throughout North America. In the United States, they range along the Atlantic coast from Maine to Florida to as far west as New Mexico. 

Diet
Walking sticks are herbivores that only eat leaves. Their favorite types of leaves include oak, hazelnut, maple, sassafras, apple, black cherry, and raspberry. At WonderLab, they are mostly fed rose bramble or oak leaves.

Behavior and Adaptations
Walking sticks protect themselves by so closely resembling the twigs and branches of trees that they are generally overlooked by predators. They can stretch their antennae and front legs to sty still for long periods of time, more effectively blending in with their surroundings. They also “sway” or “wobble” to mimic the movement of branches.