Stick Insects

Date Posted: 13 Sep 2020

Curious looking creatures, stick insects look like, well, sticks/twigs!

Did you ever keep one as a child? They seemed to live in jars in schools back in long gone days. Now, they are uncommon and there’s even a Facebook page about them.

The small stick insect population in Cornwall is thriving, however, perhaps because there is plenty of camouflage for them, and because they like the mild climate here. Someone in a garden near St Austell back in 2010 found 140 of them. In 2019, someone trimming a hedge in Mousehole happened upon five of them.

Most of the ones seen in the south west are Unarmed Stick Insects, which can be as long as a teacup. They are harmless herbivores and rather graceful-looking.

Then there is the Prickly Stick Insect mainly found in the St Mawes area but also at Tresco on Scilly. It is thought that they are all females, as they are able to reproduce parthenogenically, not needing males.

If you see a stick insect on your Cornish travels, you are very lucky, so please take a photo if you can, and report it here.

Originally, they come from New Zealand and arrived on imported food. They are rarely spotted, especially as they blend in so well with the foliage, so if you have children they could make finding a stick insect on their Cornish holiday a mission.