Vietnam Prickly Stick Insect (Neohirasea maerens)

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Vietnam Prickly Stick Insect
Neohirasea maerens
Vietnam Prickly Stick Insect (Neohirasea maerens)
Name Vietnam Prickly Stick Insect
Name Lat. Neohirasea maerens
Family Lonchodid Stick Insects
Family lat. Lonchodidae
Order Phasmids
Order lat. Phasmatodea
Origin Vietnam
Habitat Forest, shrubs
Diet Fresh rose-family leaves
Humidity 50-70 %
Behavior Peaceful, nocturnal
Keeping Individual, pair, group
Care Level Easy
Housing Semi-humid terrarium
Breeding Simple
Life Span 6-10 months
Protection No
Metric Units
Size 5-7 cm
Temperature Day 22-25 °C
Temperature Night 18-20 °C
Housing Size 30 x 30 x 50 cm
US Units
Size 2"-2.8"
Temperature Day 72-77 °F
Temperature Night 64-68 °F
Housing Size 10" x 10" x 20"

Distribution and habitat

The crepuscular to nocturnal carpet insects are native to Vietnam. There, the wingless animals live on bushes and shrubs of the tropical forests.


A terrarium of L 30 x W 30 x H 50 cm is recommended for a pair or a small group. A terrarium with a cover made of gauze or fine metal mesh is best. The terrarium should be placed in a quiet place without sunlight

They need climbing opportunities, such as cork back walls, twigs and branches, which also serve as food plants. In order to keep them fresh for a longer time, they should be served in narrow-necked, well-sealed (danger of drowning), stable containers (e.g. vase). Suitable substrate is terrarium humus or a soil-sand mixture covered with moss, which should always be kept slightly moist. Every 1-2 days, preferably in the evening, the insectarium should be finely sprayed with water inside (humidity), but a rain or mist system is better. Too high humidity and waterlogging should be avoided at all costs. Good ventilation is especially important.

Daytime temp.: 20-25 °C Temp. night: 18-20 °C Humidity: 50-70

Although the animals are nocturnal, a light source that also produces the necessary heat is ideal. The lighting duration should be 8-12 hours, depending on the season


The food supply consists of fresh leaves of blackberry, honeysuckle (Lonicera nitida), laburnum, elderberry and ivy (Hedera helix), as well as leaves of ferns. Leaves of other roses and rose plants, such as red and hawthorn, raspberry, currant, wild rose, etc., as well as the leaves of beech, oak, linden, hazel, eucalyptus or sweet chestnut are also accepted differently by individuals. Blackberries are ideal as food in winter, as they remain green. Spraying the forage plants allows the animals to satisfy their drinking needs. Additionally, a wick waterer is recommended. Eaten branches, dried and rotten leaves must be removed regularly

A regular and varied diet promotes the well-being of the animals.

Reproduction and breeding

The reddish to dark brown colored males are much smaller and slimmer than the light brown females. The males have fewer but slightly longer spines than the females.

They can reproduce sexually or asexually by virgin reproduction (parthenogenesis). This produces offspring from unfertilized eggs. The hatching rate is greater in sexual reproduction. Females drop the spherical eggs, about 2 mm in size, on the ground. The incubation period is about 4 months at 20-25 °C. The newly hatched young are about 9 mm long and remain almost motionless during the day. After the last molt (imaginal molt), the animals live for several months


When threatened, the adult carpet scarecrows, but also the nymphs, can excrete a smoky-smelling defensive secretion, which is harmless to humans, but whose odor lasts for a long time. The animals can run relatively fast.

Before buying, a terrarium should be prepared that meets the species-specific needs. Necessary is good ventilation without drafts, as well as equipment for measuring temperature and humidity. The lighting has to correspond to the species-specific day-night rhythm and has to be installed in such a way that the animals cannot injure themselves

The terrarium should be locked in such a way that neither unauthorized persons can open it nor the animals can escape. Special attention must be paid to thorough hygiene and impurities must be removed regularly

Further literature can be found in your pet store


Text: petdata; Image: Franz Lowak

Source: SEILER, BRADLER, KOCH (2000): Ratgeber Phasmiden, Verlag Bede; ENGELMANN & LANGE (2011): Zootierhaltung - Tiere in menschlicher Obhut: Wirbellose, Harri Deutsch Verlag