The grasses and plants found in sprawling prairies are a familiar and welcome food source for the Prairie Walkingstick.
Prairie Walkingsticks vary in color and size. Females are more green and long, while males are more brown and short. Neither sex can fly and their legs are not built for jumping, though they can drop themselves to the ground as a defensive maneuver. They may also produce chemicals that taste bad to predators. Combine these strategies with near-perfect camouflage and Prairie Walkingsticks seem to amply compensate for their reduced mobility. This is a slow-moving insect, tempting observers to pick it up, but it has delicate legs that can break easily so it is safer for the Walkingstick if people look with their eyes, not with their hands.
Prairie Walkingsticks are herbivores, nibbling on the leaves of shrubs and plants for nutrition. They prefer native plants like Big Bluestem, Switchgrass, and other prairie staples. They may remain still all day and slowly graze at night. Females lay fertilized eggs as they feed. These eggs overwinter and hatch in the spring.
Scientific Name: Diapheromera velii
Walkingstick or Timema
Size (Adult; Length): 40mm to 85mm (1.56in to 3.32in)
Note: 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 as they are driven by environmental factors (such as climate change), available food supplies and mating patterns. Grayed-out selections indicate that the subject in question has not been reported in that particular territory. U.S. states and Canadian provinces / territories are clickable to their respective bug listings.