Insect Identification logo

California Timema (Timema spp.)

Detailing the identifying qualities of the California Timema, including physical features and territorial reach.

 Updated: 2/15/2018; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ¬©

  California Timema  
Picture of California-Timema

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

There are fewer than 25 known species of Timemas in North America. Much like their relatives, the Walkingsticks, they 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. 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. Timemas are wingless and cannot fly. They move more slowly than the longer, thinner Walkingsticks.

The California Timema feeds on plants in the Southwest region of the U.S. as well as Mexico. They resemble sticks or branches of plants. This mimicry helps them avoid predators. When disturbed or threatened, they are known to produce a distinct, fruity-type odor. A Timema can be distinguished from all other walking sticks by the presence of only three segments to each leg as opposed to five. Look for them on trees or shrubs in chaparral or at the foothills of mountains. They eat from a variety of plants ranging from trees to flowers.

California Timema Information

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

Taxonomy Hierarchy

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

Size, Identifying Tags and Territorial Reach

Size (Adult, Length): Size (Adult, Length): 12 mm to 25 mm (0.468 inches to 0.975 inches)
Identifying Colors: green; brown; pink; white
Additional Descriptors: stick, walking, long, slow, wingless

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

A Note About Territorial Reach: Keep in mind that an insect's reach is not limited by lines drawn on a map and therefore species may appear in areas, regions and/or states beyond those listed above. Insects are driven by environmental factors, food supplies and mating patterns and do not nescessarily work within hard-and-fast territorial lines like we humans do.

BugFinder: What is it?