The Trachyaretaon brueckneri is commonly referred to as Giant Thorny Stick Insect or Throny Stick Insect. It is native to the rainforest of the Philippines.
This species is wingless, camouflages on bark, and like many other walking stick species, it is nocturnal.
This species feeds very well on bramble. You can also feed leaves of raspberry, ivy, hawthorn, hazel, and oak. You can also change other leaves, and find out what your pets like the best.
The leaves should always be fresh and since the Giant Thorny Stick Insect is nocturnal, you should put in fresh leaves in the evening. You can keep the cuttings in a jar to keep them fresh, but make sure that your pets cannot fall into the water and drown.
Sometimes freshly hatched nymphs have difficulties eating the hard edges. You can either have the adults eat on the leaves first, or cut the hard edges with a knife or scissors.
Make sure that no pesticides were used on the leaves that you feed your pets, and don’t use leaves that grew close to a high traffic road.
The cage for a single Thorny Stick Insect should be at least 9 inches high (23cm). More individuals require a larger enclosure. For several walking sticks (up to 6 individual) you can use an enclosure with 24 inches in height (60cm), 11 inches in width, and 11 inches long (30cm).
You can use some kind of substrate on the ground such as sand or soil, vermiculite, a mixture of sand and humus, or simply paper towels.
Like all Phasmids, the Trychyaretaon Brueckneri molts while hanging upside down from the ceiling. Therefore you should not have too much decoration in the enclosure to give your pets enough space to molt.
During the molt, they crawl out of the exoskeleton and must not touch any decoration or the ground during this process.
Otherwise, they might get stuck in the old skin and lose a limb or die.
Nymphs will molt 6 to 7 times before reaching adulthood.
This species does well at room temperature. The temperature should not drop below 68° F (20° C) at night and should be between 71.6° F (22° C) and 78.8° F (26° C) during the day.
This species will do fine with 60% – 80% humidity. During a molt, walking sticks need higher humidity than usual. You can lightly mist the foodplants every day with some water. Depending on where you live, you might want to dechlorinate your tap water, before using it for your pet insects.
Never spray water directly on the stick insects.
Both males and females have brown bodies that can also be reddish-brown or greenish-gey. They have yellowish eyes and thorns, hence the name: Giant Thorny Stick Insect.
Females are usually around 5 inches long (12,5 cm) and males are way smaller with around 3 inches (7,5 cm)
This species is wingless.
The total lifespan of this species is around one year.
This species reproduces sexually.
That means that both males and females are needed to be able to produce fertilized ova that can develop into nymphs.
During this process, the males sit on the back of the females for up to several weeks.
The females will always lay eggs, once they matured, no matter if they mated or not. But only after they mated, the ova (eggs) will be fertilized and can hatch.
Ova, Incubation Period
Female Giant Thorny Stick Insects will bury the ova in the substrate. The ova can be left in the substrate as long as you provide the necessary conditions for the ova to incubate.
The substrate should be kept moist all the time. Make sure that you detect mold quickly and get rid of it.
You can lightly mist the substrate with the ova in it every 2 to 3 days.
The incubation time will take around 6 months before the nymphs hatch. Colder temperatures will extend the incubation time, while warmer temperatures will shorten it.
Overall Difficulty Rating
The Trachyaretaon Brueckneri is a great beginner pet. It is non-aggressive, low maintenance, easy to care for, and rather sturdy. The tiny thorns on the back can be sharp, but walking sticks are pets that should better to watched than cuddled, anyways.
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 🙂