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California Timema (Timema spp.)

Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the California Timema

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

Updated: 01/26/2021; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
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.

Known Diet of the California-Timema

foliage of oak trees

General Characteristics
Capability, Shape, Texture/Pattern, Benefits, Dangers
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Taxonomic Hierarchy
Species Breakdown
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
      Order: Phasmatodea
        Family: Timemidae
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          Genus: Timema
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            Species: spp.
Identifying Information
Size, Colors, Features
Scientific Name: Timema spp.
Category: Walkingstick or Timema
Size (Adult; Length): 12mm to 25mm (0.47" to 0.98")
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: green; brown; pink; white
Descriptors: stick, walking, long, slow, wingless

Relative Size Comparison
Typical Size Between 12mm (0.5in) and 25mm (1.0in)
Lo: 12mm
Md: 18.5mm
Hi: 25mm
Territorial Map*
U.S., Canada, and Mexico
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Prince Edward Is.  
* MAP NOTES: The territorial heat map above showcases (in red) the states and territories of North America where the California Timema may be found (but is not limited to). This sort of data is useful when attempting to see concentrations of particular species across the continent as well as revealing possible migratory patterns over a species' given lifespan. Some insects are naturally confined by environment, weather, mating habits, food resources and the like while others see widespread expansion across most, or all, of North America. States/Territories shown above are a general indicator of areas inhabited by the California Timema. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.


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