The Giant Thorny Walking Stick (Phasmid) female is about 7 inches long and 2 inches at her widest. The males are brown, smaller, and friskier. About 12 of them were hanging upside down to the mesh lid on their terrarium. Previously, when given a demo of how to handle these bugs, the demo giver flipped the lid over so the clinging bugs were right side up, and placed the lid on the table. The walking sticks calmly sat there.

Later, I asked if I could do the same thing so that I could try photographing a few. So I flipped the lid over, and this time, the walking sticks all started, well, walking. out of the tank, off the lid... one even made it onto the legs of a desk chair. Every time I caught one, another had escaped, and I barely had time to take any photos before I spotted another sneaking off. I spent a good 10 minutes herding walking sticks.

Should you have the opportunity to meet a GTWS, know that they are vegetarian. They can be picked up by sliding an open palm under their body and lifted upwards; their little feet will eventually let go. If they're in a bad mood though, they'll press their hindmost pair of legs into your hand. The legs are adorned with thorn-like spikes (bigger than those on its head) and they pinch. I held a grouchy one today.

With some help, everyone was back in the tank except for this lady. I could finally put my 100mm f/2.8 macro to proper use. It wasn't the brightest room, and the auto focus had some trouble figuring out what to focus on (whereas cameras seem programmed to recognize and focus on a human face, they don't do the same for insect faces), so these are manually focused.

I have a new part-time job, and that is to take lovely bugs like this one out to schools and to teach kids about biodiversity. I'm still in the training stages though.