Ctenomorphodes tessulata (Gray, 1835)

Common Name:

Delete this section if there is no common name.


General colour of the males and females light to dark brown.

Campbell & Hadlington, 1967
Male: Head bearing two large compound eyes and three ocelli. Antennae 26-segmented. Pronotum approximately 3 mm. long, surface uneven, narrower than head. Mesonotum approximately 13 mm. long, two rows of prominent dorsal tubercles numbering in all from 8 to 13, several slightly raised lateral tubercles, narrower than the pronotum. Metanotum approximately 7 mm. long, without tubercles. wider than mesonotum. Prothoracic legs bearing no spines, femora of mesothoracic legs carry spines along their length with two large spines at distal end. Spines evident along femora and tibiae of metathoracic legs and distal end of each. Tegmina brown, approximately 10 mm. long. Hindwings approximately 35 to 40 mm. long extend over fifth and sometimes part of sixth abdominal segments. Ten abdominal segments. Genital lobes appear as enlargement on ventral surface of segments VIII and IX. Tenth segment modified to form claspers which bear spines. Cerci about inch long, leaf-like. (from Hadlington, 1959)

Campbell & Hadlington, 1967
Female: Head bearing two large compound eyes and three ocelli. Antennae 25-28-segmented, shorter than those of male. Pronotum approximately 5 to 7 mm. long, no tubercles present, slightly narrower than head. Mesonotum 20 to 23 mm. long with two rows of dorsal tubercles and several lateral tubercles. Tubercles more prominently raised than in male. Metanotum 7 to 8 mm. long, non-tuberculate. Pronotum, mesonotum and metanotum of equal width. Prothoracic legs bearing spines along, and at distal end of femora. Mesothoracic legs with spines along femora and tibiae, as well as at distal end of these segments. Spines also present along and at distal extremities of femora and tibiae of metathoracic legs. Tegmina brown, approximately 13-15 mm. long. Hindwings 25 to 30 mm. long, apices extending almost to posterior margin of third abdominal segment. Ten abdominal segments. Operculum which covers genital valves arises from segment VIII, its apex extending beyond segment X and located between the cerci. Cerci about inch long, leaf-like. (from Hadlington, 1959)

Lifespan: nymphs take 4 months to mature, the adult stage a further 2 months.

Key, 1994

Campbell &
Hadlington, 1967
Egg approximately 3 mm. long and 2 mm. in diameter at broadest point. Roughly elliptical in shape, somewhat wider in region of micropyle, distinctly flattened at both ends. When freshly laid, glistening black in appearance. Pale grey area extending over and around micropylar area. Smooth edged grey pigment appearing to overlie the black. Egg smooth, although microscopic examination shows it to be uneven. Black raised ridge in the shape of a Y surrounds the micropylar orifice at non-opercular end of egg. (from Hadlington, 1959)

The eggs of this phasmatid are dropped on to the forest floor by the female during summer and normally hatch in August and Septempber of the same year. There are six (male) or seven (female) nymphal instars, the nymphs reaching maturity between mid-December and mid-January. Unfertilized eggs of C. tessulatus produced both males and females, establishing deuterotokous parthenogenesis for this species. C. tessulatus eggs will not hatch in dry conditions. (Campbell & Hadlington, 1967)


arborial, near the top of hosts plants (not necesarily top of canopy)

This species not only eats Eucalyptus species, but attacks tree species belonging to unrelated genera and different families. Food preferences were not studied, although in the field Eucalyptus maculata Hook., E. paniculata Sm., E. propinqua Deane and Maiden, E. gummifera (Gaertn.) Hochr., E. resinifera Sm., E. punctata D.C., E. triantha Link, E. pilularis Sm., and Casuarina torulosa Ait. were severely defoliated. Syncarpia laurifolia Ten., and Acacia floribunda (Vent.) Willd. were also eaten. In the laboratory this species has been fed successfully on Acacia mollissima Willd., Angophora costata Domin., E. dives, E. radiata and E. andreana. (Campbell & Hadlington)

Similar Species:

Ctenomorpha chronus is physically very similar, the best differentiator is the shape of the eggs.

Rearing Notes:

Forrestry Commission oif N.S.W. reared this species for many years while studying it.

C. tessulatus eggs will not hatch in dry conditions. The presence of sand or litter helps the young phasmatid to completely free its metathoracic legs - if the eggs are placed loosely on the surface the nymph frequently cannot accomplish this and usually dies still attached to the shell.

Partongenic in captivity. Eggs hatch both male and female. (Goode, 1980)

PSG notes indicate the following foodplants have been used successfully in captivity: Brample, Eucalyptus, Raspberry, Rose.

For a stick insect with body length 89mm, to keep 2 adult females, you need a cage at least 400mm high, 180mm deep and 180mm wide.


inhabits the undergrowth in forests in south-east Queensland and northern New South Wales.

This species has occurs in coastal forests from 200-2,000 ft altitude, occasional specimens being found near the coast at lower altitudes. (Campbell & Hadlington)

NE coastal, SE coastal, QLD, NSW


Not endangered. Know to occur in plague proportions from time to time.


Phasmid Study Group

This is PSG species 155.


Copyright © 2000-2003 Peter Miller
This page was last changed 20-Sep-2006.
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