Canopy parkour in ant-mimicking stick insect hatchlings

new manuscript explaining the connection between post-hatch dispersal into tree canopies and the evolution of gliding in nymphs of Extatosoma tiaratum, a stick insect native to coastal Queensland.

Post-hatch dispersal in Macleay’s spectre stick insect, Extatosoma tiaratum. (A) Left: natural habitat of E. tiaratum, illustrating the spatial complexity and vertically varying light environment. Photo was taken in lowland mesophyll forest, Polly Creek, Garradunga, QLD, Australia (courtesy of Jack W. Hasenpusch). Right: schematic summary of E. tiaratum life cycle, showing the transient spatial niche of newly hatched nymphs which ascend from the forest floor to tree canopies. (B) Loss of ant-mimicking coloration during the first 3–5 days after hatching (see also Fig. S1). (C) The two main categories of questions in this study, structured following a ‘movement ecology paradigm’ (see Nathan et al., 2008).

Hyperactive dispersal toward canopy.

Jumping to cross gap.

Rolling to fall through foliage.

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