Woops, someone skipped the ‘Camouflage’ chapter in the stick insect handbook! A colourful new species, Calvisia kneubuehleri, was discovered in South Vietnam by researchers Joachim Bresseel and Jérôme Constant from our Institute. While the nymphs of C. kneubuehleri do a great job at hiding, conforming to the “master of camouflage” reputation of the stick insects, the adult ones show flashy red, yellow and blue colours. It is not yet clear in what way this Picasso-like look is helping them to survive. Maybe the bright colours are warning predators that the insect is toxic, but this requires further investigation.

The species is named after Dr. Bruno Kneubühler (Lucerne, Switzerland), who designed an innovative method for breeding the species. Amongst other things, he managed to extend the incubation period by keeping the eggs at lower temperature for several months. This allowed the eggs to hatch in spring, when food plants were available again. As a citizen scientist, Bruno helped breeding the walking sticks in captivity, allowing a larger set of specimens to work on. He also documented the nymphs, so Joachim and Jérôme were able to describe those as well.

Oh, and by the way, our two taxonomists described the second largest insect in the world (a stick of course) in 2014.

It is scary to think that we were raised in a safe world and now growing up we have to realize that it was never safe to begin with. The wars in many countries never stopped. Innocent have died for someone to prove their power and to cause panic in the society. Innocent are blamed because someone uses their religion as an excuse to kill but they don’t know that islamic people and the terrorists are not the same thing. Young children will watch the news and think that islamic people are bad because of this terrorist attacks and will grow up believing this and this makes me sad. But thats what they want to do- divide us and and start a conflict amongst us. It is scary and it is sad and I am tired of having to post #prayfor. So let our generation be stronger and less prejudiced. Lets not hate each other but protect each other in this uncertain world. Lets not grab each others throats but hold our hands. This world needs to be united especially in times like this. I am so sorry to hear that such thing has happened again. I am sorry for Paris, Nice, Brussels, Istanbul, Syria, Berlin, London, St Petersburg and for all the innocent people who deserved so much better. I am sorry for this cruelty that has become our reality.