Giant Walkingstick

Megaphasma denticrus

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Photo of a giant walkingstick
The giant walkingstick (Megaphasma denticrus) is the largest insect in North America, with females up to 7 inches long. The middle and hind legs have spines. Males have a single, large spine on each hind leg.
Jim Rathert
Family

Diapheromeridae, in the order Phasmida (sometimes Phasmatodea) (walkingsticks)

Description

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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A large gray female and smaller yellow walking stick mate while hanging from a tree branch in front of a red brick wall.
Giant Walkingsticks Mating
People rarely notice walkingsticks unless they venture onto buildings or sidewalks, where their camouflage doesn’t work.