Common name: Northern walkingstick
Very thin, grey, green or brown, they look like the branches of the trees in which they live, perfectly camouflaged. Towards the end of August, at eye height, in a bush or on a branch of an oak tree, you may get the chance to see one.
While they are quite common in the eastern United States, walkingsticks are extremely rare in Québec. However, they do live on Mount Royal, one of the only places where their habitat still exists: oak forests. Their presence on Mount Royal is an exceptional treasure to protect. If you see a walkingstick, look at it, take pictures, but above all, let it continue on its way without touching it.
Very delicate, with long antennae, walkingsticks measure six to ten cm long and have no wings. The males are slimmer and more colourful than the females.
Walkingsticks eat leaves from a large variety of plants, but prefer those of oak trees. They have a very specific meal time: from 9:00 p.m. to 3:00 a.m.
To protect themselves, in addition to mimicry, walkingsticks are able to regenerate a lost limb. If a predator grabs a leg, it will detach, enabling the insect to escape. Then, through successive moults, an entirely new leg will grow back, although slightly smaller than the original.
Mount Royal is an exceptional site, where any type of gathering or capturing is prohibited. To conserve this natural treasure, please respect the regulations of the Mount Royal Historic and Natural District.
Source: Montréal Insectarium
A walkingstick on Mount Royal
© Les amis de la montagne Collection
(1) All insects have six legs.
(2) The walking stick has six legs.
Mission: walking stick
I was told about a fantastic creature that lives on Mount Royal, hidden away in the oak forests. Half branch, half insect, as if the devil had given life to a twig.
I'm leaving for the mountain to search for this otherworldly creature: the walking stick.
Here we are, mustn’t hurry, have to look carefully everywhere…
(We hear a cicada) On that trunk: it's a cicada; it sucks on sap to nourish itself.
And on that bellflower a dragonfly is hunting.
Let's continue: a trillium, spotted jewelweed.
And on that dandelion, an ant, and a bee gathering pollen, and a beautiful spotted lady beetle.
Still no walking stick.
Let's look in that stand of goldenrod.
There, a strange deformed stalk, it's a gall: tiny flies inject their eggs into the plant’s tissue. Their larvae’s saliva causes it to swell, and they develop inside, well protected.
Nothing in that flower… ah ha! Yes there is, an Ambush bug hiding there in wait of her prey.
A spider in her web… a little further, a pretty caterpillar and a butterfly. There! A walking stick! Oops, no, my mistake!
Oh well, maybe I won't see one today. Might as well take a break. I’ll just sit down in the grass. .. but, but… that twig! It’s moving! Incredible! It's a walking stick!
It's going to climb up an oak tree to munch on its leaves. I'll let it eat its meal in peace. It's a rare species in Québec, and we have to protect it.
I’ll take a few pictures, and there… mission accomplished!