Walking Sticks and Sleepin’ Lizards

How often do you see a stick insect on St. Martin? As far as I can tell, it’s pretty easy to go months or even years on the island without ever seeing one. It may be surprising to know that they’re actually quite common, as far as I can tell. For starters, you need to go out at night with a flashlight and look in trees and bushes. You also need to be patient and look really carefully. They’re so well camouflaged, it can be hard to spot them even when you’re looking right at one. Once you find one, though, it gets a lot easier to spot them and there are often several on the same tree.

On St. Martin, they seem to be a species from the Clonistria genus, and they are sexually dimorphic. In this case, the males are brown and the females are green. The size varies a lot depending on their age, and I’ve seen them anywhere from one inch to four or five inches long.

While you’re out looking for walking sticks, be careful. Prowling spiders (Miturgidae) are out prowling those same tree branches at night, as are giant centipedes. Last night I was a little surprised to see a giant centipede eating a snail. Why have such powerful venom if you’re just going to eat a snail? I suppose I was on the French side, though.

Other sightings included plenty of sleeping lizards, a couple brown widow spiders and millipedes mating. If you aren’t spooked about wandering in the dark, it’s really a great chance to get to know some of the island residents that you might not be familiar with.

Comments are closed.