Not real fairies but a strikingly beautiful stick-insect – and if you’ve never considered these insects to be attractive then just look at these photos!
This description of the Hasenpusch Family Stick-insect (Parapodacanthus hasenpuschorum) really paints the picture. From the book written by Paul Brock and Jack Hasenpusch “On several occasions visitors to the rainforest at Garradunga have reluctantly reported seeing ‘fairies with pink wings’ flying overhead between the trees..”
And recently we have been lucky enough to see a female on two separate occasions. Neither Allen nor I have observed this species prior to having a copy of the aforementioned book and I’m sure that we would remember.
The females are a vivid, glossy green with bright pink/cerise wings – we have not yet seen a male of this species but they also have pink wings and the pink spiny tubercules. Both males and females can fly well; certainly the females we have seen could and they really do look like pink-winged fairies.
In order to be able to photograph the wings Allen gently held the insect – she didn’t emit any unpleasant odour which apparently they can do when handled so I don’t think she was too stressed. I just took a couple of quick photos and then he let her go and she took off fast and high into a nearby tree.
And while I’ve been writing this post yet another species of stick-insect has appeared on the verandah in front of my window. Do they know that we have a new book?
Wulfing’s Stick-insect (Acrophylla wuelfingi). Apparently this species is not uncommon in northern Queensland rainforests and we have both seen them before, at Wild Wings & Swampy Things and other locations in Daintree.
The body length of the female that is currently resting within my sight is about 200mm – she’s big and looks vulnerable in her current position. We are going to move her this afternoon, well before the Black Butcherbirds cruise the length of the verandah looking for late afternoon snacks. Wulfing’s Stick-insect is closely related to Titan Stick-insect(Acrophylla titan) which is found in coastal areas from SE Queensland down to Victoria. I don’t think you would want either species in great numbers in a garden or orchard as they must consume a fair amount of vegetation to feed a body that size. We are, however, delighted to find several different species living here and it is especially gratifying to be able to identify them as well as to read more about their habits.