Phalces brevis (female)
Photograph courtesy of P.D. Brock

The Stick Insects (Phasmida) of South Africa

Compiled by Paul D. Brock

"Papillon", 40 Thorndike Road, Slough SL2 1SR, England

© Copyright of this page belongs to the author.


The Families

Phalces brevis mating
Photograph courtesy of Hamish Robertson, South African Museum


The oldest name for this order is "Phasmida", but it is also called Phasmatodea, Phasmatoptera and Cheleutoptera. The stick insects of South Africa are placed in two suborders, each containing one local family.

Some African stick insects with unknown type localities may occur in South Africa, as may species from neighbouring countries, e.g. the Mozambiquan species Clonaria specifica Brunner, 1907 and C. schaumi Karsch, 1898. It should be noted that many species are described from "Cape of Good Hope" (= Promontorium Bonae Spei), and that this was used to refer to anywhere between Cape Town and the Grahamstown area. In addition to the species in the list, two others have been recorded from South Africa in error: Prisopus horstokkii (de Haan, 1842) and Prisomera canna (de Haan, 1842). The former is a South American species from French Guiana and Guyana; the latter is probably South American and definitely not a member of Prisomera, although Brunner (1907) transferred it to that genus.

The following checklist includes some undescribed species, placed only in genera, e.g. Lonchodes sp. was mentioned by Schulthess (1899). A status of "?" denotes a type locality of "South Africa" with no subsequent records; these are just as likely to represent equatorial Africa. Species with green markers are found in South Africa; those with yellow markers are found further north; and those with blue markers are introduced exotics. Synonyms are flagged with red markers.


More details about the biology and systematics of stick insects can be found through

Phasmida Species File
BIOSIS Internet Resource Guide - Phasmida
The South African Museum's Biodiversity Explorer: Phasmida (stick and leaf insects)
Gordon Ramel's Stick Insect Page
The Phasmida page of The Tree of Life .
The Phasmid Study Group Home Page
Eggs and Classification: the Phasmid connection

Please write to the author if you require additional data on specific insects, such as information on distribution.

Order: Phasmida



Brock, P.D. 1999. Alien stick insects. Phasmid Studies 7(2): 40-41.

Brock, P.D. 2000. Studies of the genus Phalces Stå:l. Phasmid Studies 8: 1-8

Brock, P.D. 2000. Stick insects from the Cape Town area, South Africa. Bulletin of the Amateur Entomologists' Society 59: 2-13, pl. 00A-00D

Brock, P.D. 2004. Taxonomic notes on giant southern African stick insects (Phasmida), including the description of a new Bactrododema species. Annals of the Transvaal Museum 41: 61-77.

Brock, P.D. 2005. A new genus and four new species of South African stick insects. Phasmid Studies 12: 25-37.

Compton, S.G. & Ware, A.B. 1991. Ants disprese the eliasome-bearing eggs of an African stick insect. Psyche 98: 207-213.

Günther, K. 1956. Phasmatoptera. In: Hanstrom, B., Brinck, P. & Rudebeck, P. (eds.) South African Animal Life 3: 87-93. Almquvist & Wiksell, Stockholm.

Le Feuvre, W.P. 1936. The stick insects of the Cape suburbs. The Cape Naturalist 1(3): 80-86.

This is part of A Catalogue of South African Insects