Monday, May 13, 2013

Timema Stick Insects

Timema genevieve
Timema is the genus name for a group of 20-odd stick insects that are all found within the western United States. Most of these species live in the state of California, and a few others are found in neighboring states.

Like all Stick Insects, the members of the Timema genus are all very well camouflaged. They resemble small, stout, sticks and branches, and range in color and size depending on the species. All of these critters are nocturnal, so their coloration is especially important since they need to hide out and rest during the daytime. At night they come out to feed on different shrubs and trees.

One absolutely remarkable feature of this genus is that it is the earliest, most basal branch of the living Stick Insect groups. This means that they have a few very primitive traits that are all their own. For one, their legs only have three segments, instead of five. Secondly, about 1/4 of the species are asexual, and are able to reproduce through Parthenogenesis (females lay eggs that do not need to be fertilized by males). Two of the species exclusively reproduce asexually, and have been doing so for over a million years!

IUCN Status : Not Listed
Location : United States
Size : Varies
Classification : Phylum : Arthropoda -- Class : Insecta -- Order : Phasmatodea
Family : Timematidae -- Genus : Timema
Image : Paradise Reserve

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