Heteropteryx dilatata

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Heteropteryx dilatata

Heteropteryx dilatata, also known as jungle nymph, Malaysian stick insect, Malayan jungle nymph, or Malayan wood nymph, is a large member of the Phasmatodea, commonly kept in captivity. It originates in Malaya and is nocturnal. This insect holds the human record for the largest egg laid by an insect. The eggs are about 1.3 cm (0.5 in) in length.

Scientific classification

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Clade: Euarthropoda
  • Class: Insecta
  • Order: Phasmatodea
  • Suborder: Verophasmatodea
  • Family: Heteropterygidae
  • Genus: Heteropteryx
  • Species: H. dilatata
  • Binomial name: Heteropteryx dilatata


This species is not long and thin because people often expect from a stick insect. Male and female are quite different, they also look at different species. Adult females are bright green, very large and have a very large body. Their wings are really short and lay on the back of the insect. Male is long and thin and has a shoel in a brown shade.

Their wings are very long and extend their stomach all the way down. Both species have small spikes on the head and body, but the female is more of them. The nerves of both species are similar to the L7 until they are white-colored, and the female is brown in brown, while the male retains its poor appearance. The back wings of both species are red pink, with males having black stripes (or whirls) on these wings.


The Malayan Jungle Nymph (Heteropteryx dilatata) is the heaviest stick insect in the world, weighing around 65 grams (but only if we’re talking about a female). The males are much smaller  than the females  (6 in.) and lack the bright green, almost leaf-like appearance taken by the females. Instead, they resemble twigs: skinny, long, and mottled brown in color. Either sex is well equipped to camouflage itself amongst the dense brush of the Malaysian forests they inhabit.


The difference between males and females is easy to see from an early nymphal stage. The females are beige / brown in color while the males are dark brown with beige segments in a regular pattern. A few molts before they mature, the female change from being beige to being bright green. She will stay like this all her life, while the male will never become green. When the male matures he will have long wings, the female will have only small wings that cannot be used to fly.


Females reach a length of 25 centimetres, one of the world’s heaviest insects, and the males a length of 10 centimetres. The females of this species are very aggressive and much larger, wider, and brighter-colored than the male. The female is lime green and has short, rounded wings, however their short length doesn’t allow them to fly. The males are much smaller and a mottled brown colour. Both sexes have small spikes on their upper bodies, more numerous in the female, who also has very large spines on her hind legs that can snap together as a scissor-like weapon.


Heteropteryx dilatata is a nocturnal insect which means they are active during the night and rests during daylight. This creature breeds in normal tropical climate which is suitable in South East Asia region. In order to reproduce, both male and female are required to mate.

A female Heteropteryx dilatata can lay up to 100 to 150 eggs each time. It takes about 10 to 14 weeks for the nymph to hatch and even at a starting stage the Heteropteryx dilatata is already big in size as compared to other insects which is about 2 to 3 centimeters in length. A male nymph is often seen riding on the back of the female nymph and unlike traditional belief of reproduction, Heteropteryx dilatata normally travels in pairs.

Heteropteryx dilatata images

Image by luxber from Pixabay

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Heteropteryx dilatata for sale

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