The Dares Validispinus is a walking stick species native to Borneo. The wingless, rather small insects are dark brown, thorny, and mimic bark. They are nocturnal, just like all stick insects species, and only eat leaves.
The phytophagous species is polyphagous just like many other beginner walking stick insects. That means that this species only eats plants and no meat, and is not limited to only one or a few plants.
You can feed your pet Dares Validispinus bramble, raspberry, hazel, oak, rose leaves, salal, and many others. You cannot poison a walking stick with the wrong plant, it will only eat what it can digest well. Be careful when you collect leaves outside.
If pesticides were used in the area, the leaves can harm your pet. Always rinse the leaves with water before you feed them.
This species is rather small and can be kept in a smaller enclosure. The enclosure should be at least 5.5 inches tall.
You could use a tall glass or plastic kitchen jar and use some mesh and a rubber band as a lid. Only a little ventilation is necessary to provide high humidity. Compared to other species, the humidity has to be rather high.
You should also put some cork or bark in the enclosure to give this species the possibility to hide behind it.
You should use a substrate that can retain and slowly release humidity to provide a high humidity in the tank. Good substrates for walking sticks are vermiculite, a mixture of hummus and sand, Spagna moss, or topsoil.
The Dares Validispinus thrive at room temperature. Anything between 68° F (=20° C) at night and 77° F (= 25° C) is good for them.
Enclosures with plastic or glass walls can heat up very easily. Never put the enclosure in direct sunlight and try to avoid any sudden temperature changes, for example, caused by an open window in winter.
The humidity has to be rather high. Anything between 70% and 80% is good for these walking sticks, but 80% is preferred.
Especially when they molt, they need a higher humidity in their tank. You can achieve high humidity by spraying a fine mist of water into the tank once or twice a day. You can spray water into the substrate, against the walls, and on the feeding plants.
High humidity can quickly lead to mold on the substrate. Make sure to regularly check the tank for any signs of mold. If the tank appears dirty, you should exchange the substrate and clean the enclosure.
The males and females of this species are dark brown and perfectly mimic bark.
You can often find lighter brown or even yellowish spots that are symmetrical on the body. The bottom side of the insects is light brown or beige.
The Dares Validispinus is a wingless insect with many thorns all over the body. The females are usually around 1.8 inches in length and the males around 1.5 inches. Compared to other beginner pet species, this is one of the smallest pets to keep.
This species reaches maturity after 6 to 9 months. The average lifespan is around one year, but some females can reach up to 2 years.
The Dares Validispinus only reproduces sexually. That means that both males and females are necessary to fertilize the ova (= eggs). Only fertilized eggs will hatch.
Ova, Incubation Period
The females drop their eggs on the floor. Use a substrate on the floor that can help you find and collect the ova, such as a white paper towel. The eggs will take 3 to 6 months to hatch.
Only one to three ova will be laid by the female per week.
Overall Difficulty Rating
This species is very easy to care for. The insects only need a small enclosure, are small, docile, non-poisonous, non-aggressive, calm, and can easily be bred.
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 🙂