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8 pink-winged stick insects join the Honolulu Zoo in Waikiki

  • COURTESY PHOTO

The Honolulu Zoo today announced the arrival of eight new residents — pink-winged stick insects — at its Ectotherm Complex.

The pink-winged stick insects (Sipyloidea sipylus) were donated by the University of Hawaii’s Department of Plant and Environmental Protection Sciences.

The pink-winged stick insects, a species of phasmid originally from Madagascar, have been found in Hawaii since the 1990s on the islands of Oahu, Maui, Kauai and the Big Island, according to the zoo.

Described as one of the most widely distributed stick insect species in the world, they resemble sticks and grow approximately 4 to 6 inches long. They are harmless, as they do not bite, sting or scratch, but may release a defensive odor when handled.

However, they can fly and have been known to shed and regenerate appendages such as their legs.

The females do not need to mate with a male to produce offspring and they lay eggs that hatch after two to three months, the zoo said. Their lifespan is about nine months to one year.

“We do have some eggs here that have been laid from one of our females,” said zookeeper Kale Taylor, “and we’re looking to raise them and just educate our public about these very unique insects.”

At the zoo, the insects, which are herbivores, are eating milo leaves.

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