These stick insects are commonly known as BUDWING STICK INSECTS or RED WINGED STICK INSECTS and in the wild they can be found in the rainforests of Thailand.
This species gets their common name of the ‘budwing’ stick insect because of their beautiful little wings which are highly patterned in browns, yellows and pinks as you can see below:
Their other common name of ‘red winged’ stick insect comes from the fact that underneath this outer ‘bud’ wing surface they have vivid crimson red coloured wings which are used to startle predators if they feel threatened. As you can see below this colour really is quite striking!!
Photograph reproduced with kind permission of Tomek Litwin.
When it isn’t feeling threatened and showing off its bright red wings, this species is a superb example of twig-based camouflage – whenever I get the opportunity to demonstrate this during school visits I will take that chance! In September 2021, on one of my regular visits to St Mary’s Catholic Primary School in my home town of Swindon, I had the perfect chance to do so! Within the classroom in which I was based, the staff had created a beautifully textured tree out of strips of cardboard. Before the children came in for their sessions I hid one of my budwing stick insects on the trunk of the tree and absolutely none of them (or the staff members involved) had any idea where she was because her camouflage was SO good as you can see below!
I chose to label this last picture because some people commented that they still couldn’t see the stick insect clearly even when the image was zoomed in so far! I think this species is one of the most amazing examples of camouflage I own.
This species is hugely popular with the many children they meet because they are very easy to handle, having only tiny tarsal (foot) claws which feel sticky rather than scratchy and no spines on their body unlike many of my other Phasmids!