What a Baby Stick Bug Looks Like

Mostly like an itsy bitsy little stick, but with pluck
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Baby stick bug

I know Memorial Day is a serious and important holiday to consider service to the country. 

But it's also a day when people celebrate the coming of summer, and BBQs, and sitting on grass, soft blades against skin. 

Well, here in Oakland, we were sitting out back, sun pouring over the fence, light breeze blowing through the neighbor's prayer flags and all that, when we discovered a itsy bitsy stick bug. It looked precisely like an itsy bitsy stick. 

Baby stick bug and hand model, Wendy MacNaughton (Alexis Madrigal)

I'd never seen a baby stick bug. And  I did not anticipate that it would be so cute. (Though I should have! What baby thing is not cuter than its adult counterpart? And stick bugs are basically the fennec foxes of the phylum arthropoda already.)

So, of course, I went and grabbed my macro lens and started snapping pictures as our friend Wendy MacNaughton did her best to keep the bug in/on her hands. At one point, the baby stick bug came to a gap between her fingers, which, to such a tiny creature, was like a crevasse on K2. So, it gathered itself, reeeeached out with its first pair of legs, caught the other side, and then calmly brought the second and then third pair over. 

It was almost stirring! Good job, little fake stick insect! Anyway. If you would like to option this story for a major animated feature film, please email. 

Enjoy your Memorial Day everyone. 

Oh, and here's a close-up GIF of this same momentous crossing.

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Presented by

Alexis C. Madrigal

Alexis Madrigal is the deputy editor of TheAtlantic.com, where he also oversees the Technology Channel. He's the author of Powering the Dream: The History and Promise of Green Technology. More

The New York Observer has called Madrigal "for all intents and purposes, the perfect modern reporter." He co-founded Longshot magazine, a high-speed media experiment that garnered attention from The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and the BBC. While at Wired.com, he built Wired Science into one of the most popular blogs in the world. The site was nominated for best magazine blog by the MPA and best science Web site in the 2009 Webby Awards. He also co-founded Haiti ReWired, a groundbreaking community dedicated to the discussion of technology, infrastructure, and the future of Haiti.

He's spoken at Stanford, CalTech, Berkeley, SXSW, E3, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and his writing was anthologized in Best Technology Writing 2010 (Yale University Press).

Madrigal is a visiting scholar at the University of California at Berkeley's Office for the History of Science and Technology. Born in Mexico City, he grew up in the exurbs north of Portland, Oregon, and now lives in Oakland.

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