Insect Identification
Insect Identification

California Timema - (Timema spp.)

Authored By Staff Writer | Last Updated: 8/13/2014

A relative of the popular Walkingstick, Timemas are shorter, fatter and slower, but just as fun to watch.

There are fewer than 25 known species of Timemas in North America. The can appear green or brown in color and have hints of white or pink as well. They have a rough-looking, bumpy exterior and a short, stout body. The smaller male will usually ride on the back of the larger female for most of their adult lives. They are wingless and cannot fly. They are known to move more slowly than the longer, sleeker Walkingstick.

California Timena feed on plants in the Southwest region of the U.S. as well as Mexico. They are slow walkers and resemble sticks or branches of plants. This mimicry helps avoid predation. When disturbed or threatened, they are known to produce a distinct, fruity-type odor. This type of Timena can be distinguished from all other walking sticks by the fact that they have only three segments to each leg as opposed to the five found in others.

Look for them on trees or shrubs in chapparal or at the foothills of mountains. They eat a variety of plants ranging from trees to flowers.

A female drops fertilized eggs on the ground as she walks, leaving them there over winter. In the spring, the nymphs hatch and grow to mature lengths in a few months.

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Category: Walkingstick or Timema
Common name: California Timema
Scientific Name: Timema spp.

  Kingdom: Animalia
   Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
     Order: Phasmatodea
      Family: Timemidae
       Genus: Timema
        Species: spp.

Adult Size (Length): 12mm to 25mm (0.47in to 0.98in)

Identifying Colors: green; brown; pink; white

Additional Descriptors: stick, walking, long, slow, wingless

North American Reach (Though Not Limited To*): Arizona; California; Nevada; New Mexico; Texas; Mexico

* Keep in mind that insect reach is not governed by lines on a map and therefore may appear in areas/regions/states beyond those listed above.