The Onchestus Rentzi is an Australian stick insect that is commonly referred to as Crown Stick Insect or Rentz’s Stick Insect.
It is native to Queensland. This species camouflages itself on bark, moss, and branches, and is a true master of disguise. As adults both males and females have wings and can fly. The majority of the Crown Stick Insects are brown with different patterns, but there are also some lichen-colored individuals.
When they feel threatened, they might pretend to be dead and stop moving.
This species eats only leaves, such as all walking stick species do. It can be fed with several different leaves such as bramble, lilly pilly, acacia, or eucalyptus.
This species is not too big and therefore an enclosure with a hight of approximately 10 inches (26 cm) or more is sufficient.
Since the Crown Stick Insect enjoys rather high humidity, the enclosure should be partially closed with plastic or glass walls, and one side should be made of mesh material to allow air circulation in the enclosure. The walking sticks can also use the mesh to climb up.
The Onchestus Rentzi thrives at room temperature. The temperature should not drop lower than 68° F (20° C) at night and can be around 77° F (25° C) during the day.
The humidity needs to be a bit higher than the usual humidity in a room. Therefore you should lightly spray the enclosure with a fine mist of water every day. Spray water into the substrate, against the walls, and on the leaves. This will allow the stick insects to drink the tiny droplets from the leaves and also help to keep the humidity up.
Depending on the area you live in, you might want to dechlorinate your tap water before using it, or use bottled spring water, just to be sure. Chlorine or chloramine and other substances that can occur in tap water can harm insects.
The Onchestus Rentzi is a winged species that can actually use its wings to fly or glide. The females are around 4.3 inches (11 cm) long, while males are smaller with around 3.3 inches (8.5 cm). They come in different shades of brown, and often with some greenish pattern to camouflage even better on branches with moss.
This species needs approximately 6 months to reach maturity, and the total lifespan is around 12 to 14 months in total.
The reproduction is exclusively sexual. Both males and females are needed to breed. The females cannot reproduce parthenogenetically, as some other species can.
Ova, Incubation Period
The females of this species tend to drop the ova (= eggs) on the floor. When females are mature and start to reproduce, you can use a paper towel on the ground as a substrate in order to be able to see the ova.
The incubation time is usually around 4 to 8 months with a high success rate of 60% – 80%.
You can keep the ova in a lightly moist sieved peat moss. Mist the ova once a month with some water to increase the success rate of hatching.
Overall Difficulty Rating
This species is a rather easy one to keep. It is totally non-aggressive, was no defense mechanisms other than camouflage and play dead, is ok with room temperature, and is easy to breed.