Walking sticks are fascinating creatures that come in many different shapes and colors. Some species are very long and mimic twigs, others look like bark. Some species have thorns, others have colorful patterns. And some species have wings, while others are wingless.
As a whole, yes, some walking stick species can fly. But most walking stick species have no wings or have small wings that cannot be used for flying. In some species, only males have wings and can fly. And some species have long, functioning wings and can fly or glide.
More than 3,000 different walking stick species were discovered so far, and chances are high that there are still many different species out there. Walking sticks can hide pretty well and it is not too easy to discover them.
Out of these many different species, only around 300 species are currently being kept as pets or for educational purposes.
In the following, you will find out, which species have wings, which species can actually use these wings for flying, and which species have only decorative wings or no wings at all.
Walking Stick Species Without Wings
Many stick insect species camouflage themselves in bushes and trees and look exactly like a twig. And most twigs come without wings.
Therefore it makes perfect sense that many walking stick species have no wings. Their greatest special effect is to hide extremely well. If a predator finds the walking stick against all odds, it can still drop to the ground or throw off a limb to confuse the predator.
Some walking stick species have impressive defense mechanisms such as spraying an acidic chemical substance against the predator. Fleeing by flying away is not necessary for many walking stick species.
These walking stick species have no wings:
- Carausius Morosus (Indian Stick Insect), wingless
- Bacillus rossius rossius, wingless
- Medauroidea extradentata (Annam Stick Insect), wingless
- Acanthoxyla prasina, wingless
- Clitarchus hookeri, wingless
- Pulchriphyllium pulchrifolium (Javan Leaf Insect/Javanese Leaf Insect), wingless
- Anisomorpha buprestoides, wingless
- Ramulus thaii, wingless
- Dares validispinus, wingless
- Spinacephorus spinulosus, wingless
- Parapachymorpha zomproi (Zompro’s Stick Insect), wingless
- Clonaria conformans, wingless
- Trachyaretaon brueckneri, wingless
- Bacteria horni, wingless (It’s just in this list because I think, the name is so funny)
- Paracalynda utilaensis, wingless
All these species have no wings. One hugs disadvantage of wingless species is the fact that if they wanted to reproduce sexually after reaching maturity, they have to be able to find each other by walking around. Since walking sticks are not necessarily the fastest insects, this can be a tricky task.
Walking Sticks With Wings That can Fly
Some walking stick species have fully functioning wings that can be used for flying or gliding.
This feature can be used to flee from predators, and to look out for the other sex in order to mate.
- Sipyloidea Sipylus (Pink Winged Stick Insect) can fly or glide
- Acrophylla wuelfingi, can fly or glide
- Eurycnema goliath (Goliath Stick), can fly or glide
- Anchiale briareus, can fly or glide
- Phobaeticus serratipes, can fly or glide
- Pulchriphyllium giganteum, can fly or glide
- Phyllium hausleithneri, can fly or glide
- Pseudophasma rufipes, can fly or glide
- Planososibia parvipennis, can fly or glide
Walking Sticks With Wings That Can Not Fly
Some walking stick species have wings but cannot fly. The wings might be very small or too weak to carry the weight of the walking stick.
In many cases, wings can be used as a defense mechanism. If the wings are spread out, they make the walking stick look a lot bigger and more impressive.
This gesture is sometimes enough to make the predator rethink its decision and back off.
- Phaenopharos khaoyaiensis, wings but cannot fly or glide
- Haaniella echinata, wings but cannot fly or glide
- Lopaphus nanoalatus, wings but cannot fly or glide
- Haaniella scabra, but cannot fly or glide
- Parectatosoma hystrix, wings but cannot fly or glide
- Asceles margaritatus margaritatus, wings but cannot fly or glide
- Tirachoidea biceps, wings but cannot fly or glide
- Phaenopharos struthioneus, wings but cannot fly or glide
- Tirachoidea jianfenglingensis, wings but cannot fly or glide
- Parectatosoma mocquerysi, wings but cannot fly or glide
- Phasmotaenia australe, wings but cannot fly or glide
- Pseudophasma subapterum, wings but cannot fly or glide
Walking Stick Species in Which Only Males can Fly
In some walking stick species, only the males have wings, or both males and females have wings, but only the male can fly or glide.
This feature comes in handy for the males, when they are looking for a female for mating. Females of the same species could be far away, and flying definitively helps, to get there faster.
For these species, only males have fully developed wings. Owning wings does not necessarily mean, that they can fly well. Some can only glide or make some kind of “drop, but does not hit the floor too hard, thanks to the wings”- move.
- Heteropteryx dilitata (Jungle Nymph), both male and female have wings, but only males can fly. The wings of the females are too small for the big body to be useful in any kind.
- Bactrododema Tiaratum, only males have highly developed wings and can fly and glide
- Cladomorphus phyllinus, only males have wings
- Pharnacia sumatrana, only males have wings
- Creoxylus spinosus, only males have wings
- Haplopus bicuspidatus, only males have wings
- Phasmotaenia inermis inermis, only males have wings
- Tirachoidea cantori, only males have wings
Walking Stick Species with Fancy Wings
Some walking stick species have wings that cannot be used for flying or gliding, but they look pretty impressive.
These wings can be used to scare predators away or can be used as a disguise to present to be something more dangerous than a walking stick.
These species have wings that cannot be used for flying but have a beautiful appearance.
- Peruphasma schultei (Black Beauty Walking Stick), wings but cannot fly or glide. This species has beautiful tiny red wings
- Pseudodiacantha macklottii, wings but cannot fly or glide. This species has yellowish-orange wings that make the walking stick look a bit like a pretty butterfly
Lisa is one of the two founders of Animal-Knowledge. She has been very interested in animals and insects from a very young age and has owned different kinds of pets such as snails, ants, fish, turtles, mice, rats, hamsters, rabbits, a dog, … you get the idea 🙂