Giant Walkingstick

Photo of a giant walkingstick
Scientific Name
Megaphasma denticrus
Diapheromeridae, in the order Phasmida (sometimes Phasmatodea) (walkingsticks)

The giant walkingstick is the largest insect in North America, at least measured by length, with females up to 7 inches long. It is easy to distinguish from Missouri's more common stick insect, the northern walkingstick, because of its huge size and because the middle and hind legs have spines. Males have a single, large spine on each hind leg. The color can vary from greenish, to tan, to brown, to rusty brown.

Like other stick insects, the giant walkingstick eats leaves. It is perfectly camouflaged for a life in trees and shrubs. Walkingsticks not only look like twigs but also sway their bodies to mimic the motion of branches in a breeze.

Learn more about this and other walkingsticks on their group page.

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About Land Invertebrates in Missouri
Invertebrates are animals without backbones, including earthworms, slugs, snails, and arthropods. Arthropods—invertebrates with “jointed legs” — are a group of invertebrates that includes crayfish, shrimp, millipedes, centipedes, mites, spiders, and insects. There may be as many as 10 million species of insects alive on earth today, and they probably constitute more than 90 percent all animal species.