March Stick Insect Update

sticky-29Another update on the stick insects in my office since they are now getting towards adult size, as you can see from the thumbnail to the left (where there is a 20p coin for reference). There have not been any deaths since transferring to the cage so there are still currently 17 insects of varying sizes due to the delay in hatching for some of them. The one shown is one of the larger ones, and is representative of the majority being a vibrant green with the distinctive red patches on the forelegs now quite apparent. There are some however of a brown colour, I’ll try and get a photo of one of them for next time (although you can see one in one of the shots below from inside the cage).

Replacing the foliage and cleaning up the bottom of the cage is becoming more of an issue due to their increased size, but on the other hand the risk of accidentally throwing one in the bin along with leaves is now negligible (I think).

Here’s another attempt at filming the gait of one of the insects, which as you can see is rather tricky since it just wants to move off at top speed in any direction it feels like at the time. Slower speeds have been observed where a metachronal gait has been used, especially when walking over uneven surfaces, but for the camera it only wanted to exhibit the standard tripod gait. It is probably time to start thinking about how to record some more variable gait patterns, although I now understand why many of the published research uses first or second instar insects since the smaller size makes life a lot easier.

Still using Tripod gait for fast movement.

Finally another couple of stills showing fast walking, the first with a UK 20p coin to show size.

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Dave

Mathematician at the University of Warwick in the UK with research interests in equivariant bifurcation theory and applications, especially in modelling of insect locomotion. Teaching interests include online learning and innovative teaching methods. Also occasionally creates material for the University's "International Gateway for Gifted Youth". He has been active on the Internet since 1995, initially though his UFO and Michael Schenker website, but now through a multitude of projects.

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