The Neohirasea Maerens is sometimes referred to as Vietnam Prickly Stick Insect, but since this name could be used for several other prickly stick insect species from Vietnam, we should better stick to the Latin name.
This species is native to the Vietnam rainforests and is a rather active one. Most stick insects don’t move around a lot, but this species is agile.
If it feels threatened, it has the ability to spray a chemical substance towards predators, which is very smelly, but not dangerous.
You can feed your Neohirasae Maerens with many different leaves such as bramble, rose, hazel, or raspberry. You can also try other leaves and find out what your pets like the most.
Make sure that no pesticides were used on the leaves that you feed your stick insects, and don’t collect the leaves close to a high traffic road.
The enclosure should be higher than wide. A good height is around 24 inches (approx. 60cm), if you keep several individuals. An enclosure with a height of 24 inches and 12 inches width and lengths (30cm) is perfect for up to 10 individuals.
Like all Phasmids, the Neohirasea Maerens need enough space to molt. Phasmids hang upside down when they molt and crawl out of the exoskeleton.
They must not reach any decoration or the ground when they molt, otherwise, they might get stuck and lose a limb or even die. This is also why you won’t need a lot of decoration in the enclosure.
As a substrate, you can use a mixture of sand and humus, vermiculite, jungle bedding, or soil. The enclosure should be placed in a room with natural light, but not directly into sunlight.
The enclosure should have at least 1 mesh wall, but two would be better. If they feel stressed, they might start spraying their chemical substance and if they hit each other, it can happen that they trigger each other and can’t stop spraying the chemical. In the worst case, this can lead to death.
This species thrives at room temperature. Anything between 68° F (20° C) at night and 77° F (25° C) during the day is perfect.
The humidity should be slightly higher than the usual room temperature. If you can keep it around 70%, that’s perfect. It is drops slightly, it’s not too bad, because this species is rather hardy. Nymphs need higher humidity and during a molt, you should keep the humidity high as well.
Simply mist the foodplants every 1 to 2 days with a fine mist of water. Make sure that the water does not contain too much chlorine. You can use bottled spring water, or dechlorinate your tap water before use.
The females are larger than the males with approximately 2.7 – 3.5 inches (7 – 9 cm). The males are usually slimmer and around 2 – 2.7 inches (5 – 7 cm) long. Both males and females are wingless and are beige to dark brown with some pattern and darker stripes on the back of the thorax.
They have thorns all over their body which can vary in lenght.
The total lifespan of this species can be up to 14 months. Depending on the temperature, humidity, and diet, it takes between 5 to 7 months to be able to mate.
The Neohirasea Maerens can reproduce sexually in nature and parthenogenetically in captivity if no suitable male can be found.
That means that even if only females are being kept, they will lay ova (= eggs) that hatch into nymphs after a few months.
Ova, Incubation Period
The females tend to drop their ova. After approximately 4 months at room temperature in humid soil, the nymphs hatch. This species is very prolific.
Overall Difficulty Rating
The Neohirasea Maerens are easy to keep and to care for, come with low maintenance, and make a good beginner pet.
Other than many walking stick species, the Neohirasea Maerens is rather agile and like to escape. The chemical substance they spray is smelly but not dangerous.