Extatosoma tiaratum was one of the first phasmid species in terraristics. It has been successfully kept and bred since the 1960s. The Australian ghost insect is listed under PSG number 9 and originates from eastern Australia. Here it is mainly found in Queensland. In its native country it inhabits the shrub and bush regions in forest areas with eucalyptus stands. Fully grown females reach a length of up to 14 cm, the males remain with a maximum of 10 cm clearly under it. From hatching to adult molt takes about 6 months. After that the females have a life expectancy of up to one year, the males of 3-6 months.
The Australian ghost insect strongly resembles a wilted leaf in appearance, which helps it camouflage from predators. It has an elongated thin body, the coloration of which varies greatly due to different environmental influences. Thus, Extatosoma tiaratum as an adult can be yellow, brownish, or even green. Nymphs, however, are always black. They have small spines on their limbs. The animals have the ability to change color during their life. Males of Extatosoma tiaratum have fully developed wings, the females only stubby wings, with which they cannot fly. Females, unlike males, have paired spines on their backs and their bodies are more massive. Both sexes carry their abdomen scorpion-like over the body. However, after the last molt, this is prevented by the wings in the males.
A terrarium for a group of Extatosoma tiaratum should have a floor space of at least 30×30 cm and be 60 cm high, because the animals need a lot of space for molting. The terrarium should be well ventilated, like all phasmid terrariums. In principle, lighting can be completely omitted, but the animals should have a day-night rhythm. The substrate can be forest humus. Also important are climbing branches that can withstand the relatively heavy bodies of the animals. The temperature in the tank should be 20-26°C and the humidity should be 40-60%. Australian ghost insects should be sprayed infrequently, taking care not to spray the animal directly. The most suitable food is rose plants such as blackberry or raspberry, but the leaves of hazel, oak or ivy are also eaten. Since the animals have a high food turnover, care should be taken to ensure that sufficient quantities are always available. Group keeping of Extatosoma tiaratum is possible due to their peaceful appearance. Also several males in one tank are no problem. Socialization with other animals is also possible. After the adult molt the females start to lay eggs. Thereby they hurl the eggs across the terrarium. The animals can reproduce both sexually and parhenogenetically. When the eggs are incubated at room temperature, the first young hatch after about 6 months.
Current size: L3-L5