Limping around

The thought of us humans losing a limb is catastrophic, but some insects can shrug it off, or at least to some extent.

Stick insects (order Phasmatodea) are able to regenerate limbs without apparent tradeoffs [1], but insects such as mantids aren’t so lucky. Limb regeneration can ocurr if it is severed during early instars, but the limb will have four tarsi instead of five and will usually be shorter [2].

I was able to witness this during my latest field trip with a female Stagmatoptera. Notice that the left hind leg is shorter:



The atrophied leg didn’t appear to hinder the insect’s movement, although I did notice it moving slower than males of the same species. This may be due to the males being thinner and not as heavy as the female, though.

1.- Maginnis, T. & Redmond, C., 2009. Leg Regeneration Trade-Offs in the Twostriped Walkingstick (Phasmatodea: Pseudophasmatidae). Annals of the Entomological Society of America: Vol. 102, Issue 6, pg(s) 1099-1104 doi: 10.1603/008.102.0618
2.- Ramsay, G.W. 1990. Mantodea (Insecta), with a review of aspects of morphology and biology. Fauna of New Zealand, No 19

One thought on “Limping around

  1. Pingback: Philippines stick insect discovery | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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