an order of insects related to the Orthoptera. The body, which is 30–35 cm long, may be elongate or flattened (as in Phylliidae). The mouthparts are formed for chewing. The prothorax is short, the mesothorax greatly elongated, and the legs long and walking. The majority of Phasmop-tera are wingless. There are about 2,500 species, distributed mainly in the tropics. The USSR has seven species. Six species of the genus Ramulus are found in deserts in Transcaucasia, Middle Asia, and southern Kazakhstan; the species Baculum ussurianum is encountered in the Far East. Carausius morosus, which was imported into Europe from India, is raised in laboratories.
Phasmoptera are herbivorous and live on plants. They are almost invisible owing to their close resemblance to twigs, sticks, or leaves (seeMIMICRY). This resemblance is particularly striking because of the insects’ ability to adopt cryptic postures and enter a state similar to catalepsy. Some Phasmoptera are pests; for example, Graeffea coccophaga eats the foliage of coconut palms.
F. N. PRAVDIN