The adult female spiny stick insect pictured above was feeding in a totara tree, in the appropriately named Totara Park in Manurewa, New Zealand. Stick insects in this genus are parthenogenetic – a form of asexual reproduction where growth and development of embryos occur without fertilization – in other words, females all lay fertile eggs and those that drop to the ground hatch in the spring into tiny insects that look like their mother.
Plant & Food Research is working Thomas Buckley of Landcare Research, Auckland who is studying the taxonomy of New Zealand stick insects using molecular technology. Science Photographers at Plant & Food Research are photographing of all life stages of native and adventive insects and their natural enemies to help people recognise the insects in their crops or in native habitats.
Many of these photographs are now being used in the internet factsheet series, Interesting Insects and other Invertebrates .