phylum class subclass • order monotypic order suborder family


Heel-walkers are brown, gray, green, or yellow and are sometimes marked with darker dots or stripes. The sides of their midsection, or thorax, are sometimes spiny. They measure 0.35 to 0.94 inches (9 to 24 millimeters) in length. The males are usually smaller than the females. Both sexes are wingless and resemble young mantids or stick insects. The larvae (LAR-vee), or young form of the animal that must change form before becoming an adult, strongly resemble the adults.

The head is distinct and has chewing mouthparts with sharp jaws that are directed downward. The antennae (an-TEH-nee), or sense organs, are long, threadlike, and have many segments. The compound eyes, each with many individual lenses, are well developed, but simple eyes, those with only a single lens each, are absent. The front and middle legs are slightly enlarged and have two rows of short, sharp spines. The hind legs are slender and lack rows of spines. All of the feet have five segments, but the first three are fused, or joined together.

The abdomen consists of ten well-developed segments and a much smaller eleventh segment. In the females, the eighth and ninth segments have three structures that together form a short egg-laying device, or ovipositor. The tip of the abdomen has a pair of projections. In females these projections are short, but in males they are much longer and curved.

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