This specimen, an Indian Walking Stick, showed up on the front porch this past Tuesday (Election Day). Or maybe it was there earlier and we took no notice. It's certainly unobtrusive. In fact, we didn't try to identify it until today. And when we did, we found out that this is an exotic and not entirely welcome transplant to California. Here' s an excerpt from a UC Davis writeup:
"Walking stick insects, order Phasmatodea, are mostly tropical insects that are considered an entomological curiosity because of their remarkable mimicry of twigs and leaves. Several species are popular in the pet trade and for grade school demonstrations and thus get moved extensively with some, such as the Indian walking stick insect, Carausius morosus, becoming established in many parts of the world. The Indian walking stick is native to southern India, but the precise time of its establishment in California is unknown; the first official finding occurred in San Diego County in 1991 and shortly thereafter in San Luis Obispo County. There has been an increase in homeowner reports of walking stick damage in the last 10 years along the Central and Southern coasts of the state."
Kate has, in a science-teacherly way, captured the Walking Stick, put it in a small terrarium with some fresh leaves. It appeared to have deposited about a dozen eggs on the porch floor, immediately below where it was just hanging out on the wall. She scooped up those, too. Now we'll wait and see nature take its course."