Sunday, September 1, 2013

Common or Northern Walkingstick - Diapheromera femorata

Northern Walkingstick - Diapheromera femorata
This blog is about the Common or Northern Walkingstick - Diapheromera femorata.  Walkingsticks are insects and belong to the family Phasmidea.  Walkingsticks are herbivores and feed on foliage of trees and shrubbery utilizing their mandibles to cut pieces of the leaves, stems of flowers.  They will feed on a leaf and skeletonize the leaf.  In fact, this is the first walkingstick that I have seen in the wild.  Even when I was a member of the Junior entomologist at the Boston Museum of Science, I never located one for my collection.  At that time.

Northern walkingsticks are found all along the Atlantic coast and in the northern Florida, as far west as New Mexico, and as far North as Alberta, Canada.  They are usually found the deciduous woods and forests with the preferred food of oak and hazelnut are abundant, but they can be found in agricultural fields, urban gardens and residential yards.  Because of their appearance, which resembles a twig allows them to blend in with their surroundings and helps camouflage them from their predators.  An interesting fact is if they lose a leg to a predator and escaping from the predator, they can regrow the leg.

If in a location, there is a high number of walkingsticks present, they can cause significant defoliation and cause entire tree branches to die.

Color wise, male northern walkingsticks are brown in color and the females have a hint of green to their brown color.
Northern Walkingstick - Diapheromera femorata

Northern Walkingstick - Diapheromera femorata

Northern Walkingstick - Diapheromera femorata


My set up to photograph the Northern Walkingstick included a white box with for us and white lights shining in the from the sides and diffused by the white boxes translucent white cloth.  I placed a green background which I printed on matte paper so they would not be any reflections.  A branch with leaves was placed in a holder and the walkingstick placed on the branch.  We photographed it with macro lenses also using external flashes.
Macro photography set-up