While walking on the Buckeye Trail, I came across this very cool insect. Adults are 3 to 3-1/2 inches long and remarkably well camouflaged. They are slender, elongated and resemble a twig.
Northern Walkingsticks have a wide range, extending down the Atlantic Coast from Alberta, Canada to Northern Florida.
These creatures feed mainly on the leaves of trees. They are leaf skeletonizers, eating the tissues between the leaf veins before moving on to new leaves.
There favored habitat is deciduous woodland edges and forests where their preferred food sources (Oak and Hazelnut) are in good supply.
Northern Walkingsticks have the extraordinary ability to regenerate legs that are lost by attacks from predators. When predators are present, they remain motionless with their legs close to their bodies, thus resembling a stick.
They tend to lay their eggs in September; they do so, usually from great heights, dropping them down to the leaf litter where they are left to overwinter. The eggs falling from the trees sound like of droplets of rain.
We often think of strange, exotic-looking insects as creatures inhabiting tropical rainforests, but the Northern Walkingstick graces us with its presence right here in Ohio.