Rus Articles Journal

Your house ghost of

Once in the childhood on pages of the Koster magazine I read a strange story about the Leningrad scientist who hardly got somewhere eggs of tropical insects - palochnik. He, as well as is necessary, studied literature, stocked up with a forage and began to look forward to birth of these exotic beings.


hatched in the put time. Here only their emergence coincided with the most terrible and tragic event in life of our city - the Siege of Leningrad began.

the Nursery forever holds in remembrance what made strong impression. I do not remember either a surname of the author of the story, or a name of his hero. But very brightly I represent still as it, hardly moving legs for hunger, went on the city under bombardment, trying to find at acquaintances the escaped houseplants - an ivy or a tradescantia. And mysterious inhabitants of tropics waited for it in the netoplenny apartment, and, I am sure, brightened up the presence infinite blockade nights... whether

Should saying

that palochnik since the childhood of steel for me cult insects. I read everything that about them was written at Bram. Admired them in the Zoological museum. Knew their Latin names and could list all countries of dwelling.

I when, about five years ago, I for the first time saw palochnik in pet-shop, so to speak, “alive“, literally began to tremble and did not calm down until at me on a table in a rearing cage did not sit is proud on a branch, almost without differing from it, my first palochnik.

Since then these insects strongly located by

in my house. One generation replaces another. There are representatives of different types absolutely unlike at each other, but the plants which are permanently reminding any part. Before to tell how to contain in house conditions of my favourites to which I, certainly, am biased I will make small retreat.


- inhabitants of the tropical and subtropical woods and savannas of Australia, New Guinea, India, Indonesia, Ceylon and the island of Borneo. For my ear it already sounds as music...

the Group to which these tremendous insects belong contains more than three thousand types and is called palochnik (Phasmida), or prividenyevy (Phasmoptera). Both names speak for themselves. In - the first, similarity to sticks is observed (branches, knots, leaves, depending on a look). In - the second, it is possible to notice them not at once, even at a short distance. But at some moment these masters of a camouflage appear before you unexpectedly as ghosts, and also unexpectedly disappear.

Practically all insects in the nature are extremely vulnerable

and settle down almost at the very beginning of food chains, that is are a forage for birds, Amphibia and reptiles. As to be eaten - prospect unattractive, everyone adapts as it can. Fast legs, strong wings, sharp jaws and secrets of poisonous glands help insects to survive with the cruel world full of enemies.

C prividenyevy the Creator arrived in a special way. Being, probably, in playful mood, he created a palochnik - an insect who tries to prove all the life to people around that it is a plant. No devices to escape, bite or sting, at it are provided. But art of masking at this defenseless insect is so perfect that his belonging to fauna can be defined, only watching it for days. And it is not limited to external similarity to vegetable elements (a so-called phytomimicry). Still almost full immovability and features of behavior supplementing this amazing similarity is characteristic of palochnik - they, for example, rock if on them to blow as a leaf on wind.

Despite of the sometimes frightening shape (and among them there are both centimetric dwarfs, and the real giants), palochnik - only vegetarians. Often they live all the life on that tree where they were born, merging with branches in the afternoon, and eating foliage at night. Some representatives of this group of a krylata, but they, as a rule, overcome small distances, a minute of danger or in search of a female.

Palochnik who was got by me was an ethnic New Zealander and amazingly reminded the curtailed dried-up deckle-edged yellow leaf and thin streaks. with

Now when I already have solid experience in contents and cultivation of these insects, me it is difficult to p to surprise. But first miracles trapped me continually.

Everything began

with a molt. The fact that insects can increase in sizes only by dropping the chitinous cover which became close - the fact known and quite trivial. But unless it is possible to make out behind these dry lines a wonderful event during which the skin on a back of an insect disperses how the revealed lightning, and gets out of it, with considerable efforts, the updated being three times exceeding the sizes of fifteen minutes ago? Palochnik, as a rule, eat the cover, making up for loss of nutrients. At the time of a molt it is impossible to disturb a palochnik. It is so gentle and soft that can leave a pad or a short mustache in old covers.

But even if it occurred, too it is not necessary to worry. Because ability to regeneration, that is restoration of the lost body is one more magic which palochnik will show you. With each subsequent molt the torn-off chlenik will become more long and gradually will almost be made even to the others.

From - for the small mobility palochnik represent extremely convenient object for supervision. They are not emotional at all and allow to get it together, to admire process of a molt, postponement of eggs and absorption of food. The last action happens, as a rule, at night when most of their enemies in the nature already departs to a dream.

As for food, getting palochnik, it is necessary to take an interest, than they were fed from the emergence moment. In our, not tropical, conditions they eat leaves of raspberry, a dogrose or an oak with pleasure. In the summer of problems with a forage is not present, and about winter it is necessary to think in advance and to prepare these plants. Branches with leaves can be dried up, and to soak in the winter, keeping in boiled water. Adult individuals can “crackle“ also dry branches. But the best means of preservation of a forage - the freezer. The thawed leaves almost do not differ from fresh at all and are absorbed with big appetite. It is necessary to be careful with young people, still sticky leaves in the spring, they can damage your insect. If you decide to offer houseplants, then the tradescantia, an ivy and the Chinese rose will approach, but their expense is very big: several house ghosts can leave per day from your plant only a pot with the earth. The only thing that cannot be done - to offer palochnik of a rose of flower shop. Chemicals by means of which flowers keep freshness can cost life to your pets. Unfortunately, I know it from own experience.

the Rearing cage for palochnik can be and not too big, but the overpopulation should be avoided. Otherwise you will notice how insects will begin to chew a tail of the neighbor in a branch melancholically. It is important that conditions of keeping of palochnik imitated a gloomy rainforest therefore the main requirements - heat, humidity and lack of direct sunshine. High humidity of air is very important for good health of your pets therefore dispersion of water in a rearing cage is necessary. For this purpose it is possible to use a usual plastic sprayer which hostesses use at a linen ironing. You will see how palochnik pinch droplets from leaves or from glass. However water at the bottom of a rearing cage should not be as dampness is harmful to insects. It is possible to put pieces of the forest moss which is well absorbing the moisture remains on rearing cage corners. Temperature has to be 25 - 27 degrees in the afternoon and is slightly lower at night. In a cold season the heating can be arranged by means of the ordinary aquarian lamp or a desk lamp. On the sun the rearing cage does not need to be exposed, a tropical insect is more comfortable in a shadow.

Getting palochnik, choose often the largest. Also do it absolutely in vain. The term of life of these insects, unfortunately, is small - slightly more than a year. During this time occurs of 7 - 8 molts. Therefore the small palochnik who recently hatched from eggs though are not so effective, but will be, growing up gradually, to please the owners longer.

Having passed the last molt, palochnik reach the final sizes and can deal with a reproduction issue. In bondage they well breed and give thereby the chance to observe all cycle.“ The livestock“ increases in an excellent progression - everyone lays several tens eggs. The situation with reproduction too, by the way, looks quite fantastically, and that is why. Palochniki, generally, razdelnopola can also breed traditional sexually. Here only man`s individuals in the nature meet much less often than female. Therefore if the male in population did not appear, females of palochnik lay eggs without fertilization. It is called a parthenogenesis and is, as a matter of fact, immaculate conception. And from such eggs, in turn, only females can hatch. Generally, full matriarchy is observed, and man`s individuals are so-so, a tribute to a formalism...

Me repeatedly asked

a question: what sense to hold houses of pets who live in itself. Cats and dogs we, often, love for their love to us. They give us heat and devotion, lick hands, rejoice to our arrival. They depend on us and need us, and it is madly pleasant and flatters our vanity.

the Maintenance of the house of insects or other arthropods has absolutely other motives. Such return as from warm-blooded animals, it is not necessary to wait, of course. Yes, they do not recognize the owner and do not stretch to him a pad. Also they need us so far as we provide food, moisture and heating. Perhaps, exotic animals are for someone just a subject of fashion or prestige, part of an interior which if necessary can be replaced with something another.

But all - you see, we live in the huge city where contacts with the nature are minimized, and the rearing cage is a peculiar window to the world, an opportunity on the table, but not from the screen of the TV to watch unusual representatives of a kingdom of animals. Besides, sluggishness and not fussiness of palochnik make such contrast with mad rate of our everyday life that contemplation within half an hour of a live ghost personally gives me an invaluable relaxation and huge esthetic pleasure.

the Creator of the first in the history of classification of animals Karl Linney wrote that the nature is most of all fine in small. In my opinion, as ideal confirmation to this statement serve surprising insects - palochnik, mysterious ghosts of a rainforest, some miracle transferred to usual apartments of the northern city...