Comprehensive phasmid food list

jamest0o0

Chameleon Enthusiast
I was about to fall asleep last night and I had what i think is a good idea for a thread...

Seems like many of us have been getting into stickbug keeping. They make excellent feeders and interesting pets. One major problem is finding food for the winter, or just food in general, considering their limited *known* options. So I'd love to see people share their experiences here for what has worked, and hasn't worked, as food sources. My hope is to create a comprehensive list of foods for the different species and possibly find some new foods that are more readily available. Let's all go out there, experiment with different leaves, and report our findings :cool:

Some important info to list in your post:
-What species of phasmid?
-Was it adults eating the food? Nymphs? Hatchling nymphs?
-What foods were eaten? Fresh, thawed, dried out? How readily was it eaten? How long was the food left in the cage? Was the food hanging or placed in any particular way/next to other leaves or standing alone? Was it a full, undamaged leaf originally, or was it cut/ripped/etc?
-What foods were ignored? What else was present? Any adverse reactions to a food?

A lot of this can have a big impact on whether or not something is eaten, that's why I list so many questions. That's all that comes to mind now, but if any other useful info should be added, please let me know!!!

I will list my own experiences in a little bit here. Nothing groundbreaking right now, but I plan to try new things... the usual rose/blackberry/raspberry/oak/and some maple
 

Kaizen

Chameleon Enthusiast
I have never kept stick insects, but knowing a bit about horticulture, I have a few thoughts on winter food.

First, there are several species of evergreen oak, which, although they require a cooler period (temps in the 40/50s) can be kept small, in a pot under good lighting.

Is it the raspberry and blackberry leaves you’re feeding, or the fruit? These two can be kept in pots in winter, but do require a full winter to thrive. Solution: buy potted raspberry/blackberry plants from a local nursery in April/May. Let them grow for a month, then cut them back hard, and put them in the freezer (no colder than 25 or so). In late October, bring them out and keep them indoors under good light, and you’ll trick them into thinking it’s grow time again.
 

Rst_Cham

Chameleon Enthusiast
I have Vietnamese sick insects, nymphs. I've had them for a few months now, been feeding them from my raspberry bush until just recently since its died back for winter. I've tried switching them to oak leaves, with limited success. I tried fresh vacuum packed, then frozen that way, then thawed. The leaves dry up real fast unfortunately once thawed.

So far they've ignored romaine and rose bush leaves.

I've collected acorns and have them in fridge, Will try sprouting soon.

I put the sprigs of leaves in jars with water, leaning against the sides of the enclosure since they like to climb the screen.

I haven't had any die yet but I'm concerned they aren't eating what I have available. I'm in Colorado buried under snow already.
 

nick barta

Chameleon Enthusiast
Site Sponsor
Wild Evergreen Blackberry is in the cooler Western side of the US and Canada, and in the winter the leaves turn red, but you can always find some, even if it is cold, under the protected shade areas under trees.

Ivy will work for Indian Stick Insects, E. calcarata, and Sunguya inexpectata, and is an easy plant to get.

Privet is in the regional plant zones 5-8, and in Europe is the #1 food plant used. You can also buy it at nurseries.

Eucalyptus is available from Tennessee to Washington, centered along the US coastline, but grows in Florida and Texas deeper into the state.

Rhododendrons are also a food plant.

Salal, (Gaulthoria shallop) is a food plant that grows in every continental state in the region plant zones 6,7, and 8, being mostly absent in Montana to the Great lakes along the Canadian border. Diapherodes gigantea has eaten Salal exclusively for me. One advantage is it lasts forever as a cutting, and is used in florists shops extensively due to it's shiny leaves. I don't recommend buying rose cuttings from a florist shop as they have killed entire colonies due to pesticides, but Salal is only harvested from the wild as far as I know.

You can freeze food plants like non-evergreen Oak to feed during the winter, if you keep the leaves on a branch, just stick it in the cage. The branch freezing takes a lot of freezer room so you can also clip the frozen leaves up high in the cage, but laying the leaves on the floor of the cage has dismal results some keepers report.

Some keepers use Romaine with some success for winter feeding, it is easy to hang a big leaf than 20 small ones...

In southern warmer climates Eucalyptus is a food plant for some Phasmids.

Some roses and raspberry, blackberry and salmonberry also are food plants.

The best place to find what Phasmid eats what plant is by looking at the PSG Culture List, you can find it at phasmidstudygroup.org.

CHEERS!

Nick
 
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