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Eurycantha calcarata

  • Live collection
Photo: Insectarium de Montréal, Laurent Desaulniers
Eurycantha calcarata.

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Giant spiny stick insects are large chocolate-brown insects with sturdy, very spiny bodies. The males average 11 cm long, and the females 13 cm. Both sexes have very thick carapaces. The males have strong femurs with large spines. The females are spineless, and have well-developed ovipositors (egg-laying organs).

Country of origin

French name
Phasme cuir
Scientific name
Eurycantha calcarata
English name
Giant spiny stick-insect
Living environment


Giant spiny stick insects feed on the leaves of different species of trees and shrubs.


These stick insects live on trees and shrubs of the tropical rainforest, to which their camouflage is perfectly adapted.

Geographic distribution

Papua-New Guinea.

Ecological role

They are phytophagous (plant-eating) insects that help maintain the balance of nature in their habitat.

Special behaviour

These stick insects defend themselves in a variety of ways. Both the males and females can bend their abdomens back over their bodies to seize their foes with their hind legs. The males have the advantage of large spines on their legs, which they can use to fend off competitors and predators. They also emit an unpleasant-smelling substance when threatened.

Interesting facts


Common species.

Interesting facts and curiosities

People in Papua-New Guinea long used the spines from these insects’ legs as fishhooks.

At the Insectarium

In captivity they are generally fed oak leaves.

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