The Diapherodes Gigantea is commonly referred to as Giant Lime Green Stick Insect.
The common name in German is “Walking Pea” due to the striking, bright, green color and appearance of the female adults.
This species is native to the Caribbean island Gredana and is mostly active at dawn and at night. Both sexes have wings, but only the males can use them to fly and glide, while the females use their wings to startle predators. The Diapherodes Gigantea is able to spray a chemical defense spray, but it very rarely does.
The Giant Lime Green Stick Insect is a leaf-eater, just like all Phasmids. The adults are polyphagous. They can be fed with Eucalyptus, Bramble, Oak, Bay, raspberry, salal, and some other leaves.
The freshly hatched nymphs in L1 only feed on the eucalyptus. If you are breeding, make sure to prepare in advance to be able to feed your nymphs, once they are hatched.
The enclosure of this species should be at least 16 inches tall (approx. 40 cm) if you keep a single Diapherodes Gigantea. For several insects, you should double the height.
The females of this species grow rather big and need enough space to molt properly. Like all Phasmids, this species hangs upside down to molt and crawls out of the exoskeleton.
The ground should be covered with some substrate. You can use a mixture of humus and sand, vermiculite, normal soil from a forest, Spagna moss, or anything else that can retain and slowly release humidity.
This species thrives at room temperature. Anything between 68° F (= 20° C) at night and 77° C (= 25° C) during the day is perfect.
The humidity should be between 60% and 80%. You can achieve a higher humidity by spraying a fine mist of water into the enclosure regularly. You can spray the walls, the substrate on the ground, and the leaves. Walking sticks will drink the tiny droplets of water from the leaves. An additional water bowl is not needed. Make sure to mist in the evening, when the stick insects start to be active.
Make sure that the water you are using is free of any harmful substances. Depending on where you live, tap water can contain a high amount of chlorine, chloramine, and some other substances, that can be harmful to insects. You can dechlorinate your tap water, or use bottled spring water.
This species is pretty sturdy and will do well in a humidity lower than 60%, but always make sure that the humidity is high when they are about the molt.
The females of this species can grow up to 7 inches (approx. 18cm), while the males are way smaller with only 4.3 inches (11 cm). Both males and females have wings, but only males can fly or glide.
Males and females are brightly green-colored before their final molt. After the last molt, the males will change their color and become brown, while the females stay bright green.
The time to maturity is approximately 6 months. Shortly after being able to mate, the males will die, while the females can live another 6 months to lay the eggs.
This species reproduces sexually. That means that both males and females exist and are required for reproduction.
Ova, Incubation Period
After mating, the females will catapult the ova (= egg) away, which will drop down to the ground. The ova is brown and looks like bark.
You can leave the ova on the slightly humid soil in the enclosure. Try to keep the temperature steady at around 75° F (approx. 24° C) in order to make the ova hatch.
The incubation time is usually around 4 to 5 months.
Overall Difficulty Rating
This species is rather easy to care for. Some breeders have stated that they have noticed a chemical defense spray, while many others haven’t. Therefore it can be assumed, that this species is able to spray a chemical substance, but is very docile and rarely uses it.
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 🙂