Macleay’s Spectre (a.k.a. Giant Spiny Stick Insect)
Extatosoma tiaratum

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Range and habitat:
Macleay's spectre is found in parts of New South Wales and southeast and north Queensland, Australia.

Natural diet:
Their natural food plant is eucalyptus, but they will accept other plant material in captivity.

Size / weight range:
The females have short wings and weigh 0.7 to 1.1 ounces (20 to 30 grams) and measure 3.9 to 6.3 inches (100 to 160 mm) in length. The smaller, lighter males have fully developed wings and range from 3.2 to 4.5 inches (81 to 115 millimeters).

Interesting Fact:
The outside material of E. tiaratum eggs consists of lipids and other organic compounds that ants identify as food. The ants carry these eggs to their colony, consume the edible outer portion, and dump the intact eggs into their waste piles. The newly-hatched E. tiaratum nymphs are born with an orange head, white collar, and black body which mimic the ant genus Leptomyrmex.  The ants that the Macleay’s spectre mimics are toxic to predators.   

This species is actually an agricultural pest in its native Australia and is in no way endangered.

Location at The Toledo Zoo:
The Crawlspace exhibit, located in the Museum of Science

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