I woke up this morning and went out on the back porch like I do everyday.
While watching two young lizards play on the screen, I noticed something odd
on another screen. I got closer to the thing that was definitely NOT a
lizard, for further inspection. I could see it was on the outside of the
screen so I felt reasonably safe getting a closer look. What I saw gave me
the heebeegeebees something awful. I had never seen anything like it before
and wanted a closer look, but not too close. Leaving the safety of my
screened in porch, I went out the patio door and walked around to inspect
the alien bug. This is what I saw...
What the heck is that thing? I called my significant other and told him he
was needed expeditiously to check this thing out. He told me to try to catch
it. CATCH IT? Are you kidding? While waiting for the SO to arrive, I decided
to see what I could find out about this scary bug. Google is my friend and
google led me to Whatsthatbug.com
http://whatsthatbug.com/walking_stick.htmland this is what I found...
These are mating Muskmares, or more correctly, a Muskmare and her
stallion. They are Anisomorpha buprestoides, Two-striped Walkingsticks. The
smell you mentioned was the least of your worries. These Walkingsticks can
shoot a noxious substance from glands in the "neck" region with amazing
accuracy. They have hit more than one of our readers in the eye and the
irritation and blurry vision may last for hours.
This is a Two-Striped Walkingstick, Anisomorpha buprestoides, also known
as a Muskmare. The Muskmare is capable of spraying a noxious substance with
incredible accuracy, and we get numerous reports of people and their pets
being sprayed in the eye.
This is a pair of Two-lined Walkingsticks, Anisomorpha buprestoides, also
known as Musk-Mares or Devil Riders because of their habit of remaining in
coitus for extremely long periods of time. The male is much smaller than the
female. Beware!! They do not bite but they can spray a noxious substance
from their necks that is painful if it gets in your eye.
It's the two-lined walkingstick, Anisomorpha buprestoides . In the case of the pairs, they are mating, and the smaller one on top is the male. It's a common walkingstick in much of Florida, but you do have to be careful with them. As you already know, they will spray an acidic defensive chemical from the end of their abdomen. They often aim for the eyes, and the chemical can cause pain and temporary blindness. Pets often experience this. They feed on foliage, probably of various hardwood trees and shrubs. I've kept them in captivity for a while and fed them oak leaves. In the populations around the Ocala National Forest, the stripes are a much brighter shade of cream/white than in other parts of the state. If you have internet access, take a look at these websites for pictures and more info:
WOW! Good thing I didn't get too close to these buggers. They're still on
the porch screen (10 hours later) stuck together and have hardly moved an