Stick Bugs & Birds

Stick bugs, or sometimes called walking sticks, are without a doubt one of the most unusual looking bugs.  A variety of species can be found in all continents except Antarctica and Patagonia. 

They can’t travel long distances by themselves, even those species that have wings, yet somehow they have managed to spread over vast areas and even to unconnected islands.

photo: https://www.pets4homes.co.uk/pet-advice/stick-insects-do-they-make-good-kids-pets.html

Many of us are familiar with symbiotic relationship between birds and the spreading of seeds, whereby a bird ingests a seed, flies away, poops and drops the seed to the ground, germinating in a new location. 

Scientists believe this is what is occurring with the stick bugs dispersing to unconnected islands in Asia.  The bug is eaten by the bird and it was assumed in the past, that the bug and the eggs it was carrying wouldn’t survive but the eggs have a coating of calcium oxalate that seems to protect them from acidic environment of a bird’s gut, so they pass through unharmed and hatch once expelled. 

Scientists are planning to study this phenomenon more thoroughly to see if they can connect the genetics of various stick bugs and the bird flight paths.

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2 Comments

  1. Grandma June 14, 2018 10:59 am

    Interesting, thank you!

  2. Maggie Turk June 14, 2018 9:32 am

    That certainly is very interesting.