This week’s Tuesday Terror is the Florida Walking Stick, or Two Lined walking stick.
|Photo taken from Pestcemetary.com|
-Wait. Like a bug kinda walking stick?
-Yes, that kind of walking stick.
-But I thought Tuesday Terrors were…You know…Dangerous.
Though it may not be the most obvious of Florida’s dangers, it still poses a threat if directly encountered. And by directly encountering…I mean picking it up to look at it.
My first encounter with a Florida Walking Stick was outside of Pensacola Junior College when I was still getting my associates. A male and female were together and had failed miserably at resembling a stick by attempting to hide on the library’s brick wall. My initial reaction to the insect was something along the lines of:
“Oh dear God what is that”.
I certainly didn’t pick it up, or touch it even. My limit of research was to google ‘walking sticks in Florida’ and up popped the picture of the Florida Walking Stick.
I didn’t realize the danger in these insects until I took an entomology course at the University of Florida. For our grade, we needed to have an insect collection of approximately 50 bugs. My dad was down visiting and we went to look for shark’s teeth in a nearby creek. Since I needed my collection, and was going in the woods anyways, I took my kill jar with us. While walking across a boardwalk, I spotted something on a post. The Florida Walking Stick!
I really didn’t want to pick it up. Again, it had a male attached to its back and was busy making little walking sticks. I tried my best to coax it into the kill jar, but was failing. My dad finally said something along the lines of “Don’t be such a wimp”, but manlier and with more expletives. He then proceeded to grab the bug. What happened next was the -exact- reason why I just don’t go picking things up.
The insect immediately squirted a white milky substance all over my dad’s hand. It stank to high heaven and was apparently slippery as it fell right out of his hand. After a few disgusting moments of trying to catch a now slippery and foul smelling creature, we finally managed to get it into the kill jar. It really did smell terrible, and my dad went down to the creek to wash his hands off.
A few days later, I did a bit more research on this bug. Remember that white milky stuff? Turns out if you get it in your eyes, it’ll cause symptoms anywhere from pain to temporary blindness. The pain was described as having a hot iron shoved into the eye socket.
So there you have it. Another little something to -not- mess with. Kinda makes me glad they prefer hide rather than charge right at you.
Should have some pictures and the report from the Cedar Key trip later this week. Tailing Redfish? Tailing Black Drum? 40lbs Black Drum while kayak fishing? Stay tuned!