Autolyca herculeana originates from the northern suburbs of Tegucigalpa, situated between Tegucigalpa and Parque Nacional La Tigra in Honduras. Locally, this insect is referred to as Chilincoco. It’s a small and stubby species, with females measuring approximately 6 cm and males around 5.5 cm in length. Both genders showcase a rich black-red colouration and lack wings. Young nymphs start with a dark brown base colour and whitish bands, evolving into adult colouration as they grow.
The red and black stick insect is relatively easy to breed and often wander about during daytime, although they are mainly nocturnal. The species has a variety of defensive mechanisms. For instance, males and females possess a peppermint-like defensive spray that irritates human eyes and mucous membranes. When they feel threatened, they’re known to attempt escape by crawling away.
Autolyca herculeana prefers a range of plants for feeding, the easiest of which to come by is privet. The insects have difficulty climbing smooth surfaces like plastic, so mesh enclosures are ideal. Females require sand or a similar substrate to lay their eggs, which they usually do by digging a small flat hole and depositing a clutch of up to 15 eggs