Phasmida Species File (PSF)


Phasmida Species File Logo

The Phasmida Species File (PSF) is a comprehensive and frequently updated catalogue of stick and leaf insects that is available on the Web. The catalogue contains over 23,000 citations to references and includes approximately 3,388 scientific names (2,794 represent valid stick and leaf insect species). A list of experts for certain faunal regions is included and these individuals can be contacted by e-mail.

Searching the Database

Examples of some searches you can perform:-

  • To find a species or genus name:- From the website home page (,click on "Search" link at the top of the page. Then type in (or copy and paste) the name of the species you want to find (e.g. "australis") into the "Name of taxon" search box. Next click the "Submit" button, and you will either go straight to the species record or have to select (and click on) the species name in the results list. Click "Search" at the top of the page to do another search.
  • To list all the taxa described by a particular author:- Click on "Search" at the top of the page. Then click "Complex search" and type the name of the author (e.g. "Westwood") into the "Author" field and click the "Submit" button. A list of the taxa which the author described will then be listed and you can click on a name to go to the full record.
  • To generate a list of the types in an institution:- Click on "Search" at the top of the page. Then click "Complex search" and type a name of an institution e.g. "BMNH" into the "Depository" field and click the "Submit" button. A list of the species / subspecies with types in the BM(NH) will be shown and you can click on a name in the list to go to the full record. [Note that unlike species files on other orders, many secondary types are currently listed in the database, as well as the primary types. However, due to time constraints, not all have been keyed where numerous part of a type series are housed in private collections]
  • To see what images are currently in thedatabase:- Click on "Search" at the top of the page. Then click on the "Image" box and click "Submit". A list of the species which have images will be shown and you can click on one of these to see the pictures (click on the thumbnails to enlarge, a good example with several photographs is Dryococelus australis).
  • To browse through the taxa in the database:- Click on "Taxa" at the top of the page and then click a family name. A list of all the valid genera will be shown and you can then click a genus to list the species it contains. Click a species name to view its full record.


Your help is needed!

The PSF is run by volunteers and there is no limit to the data that can be included. One of the main long-term goals of the PSF project is to make available photographs of all phasmid primary types, plus images of living individuals, photographs of genitalia etc. Having a comprehensive set of photographs of world phasmid species available on the Web would be of great benefit to everyone who is interested in these insects. Please note that if you have any good quality images which you would like to include in the PSF, then please send them to Paul by e-mail or on CD/DVD. JPEGs are preferred and image files should ideally be no larger than 1MB. Copyright information can be added as text to the bottom of the image as in the picture below*. Photographs will not be accepted unless you are the copyright holder and permit publication of your image on the web. Arrangements can be made for taxonomists to enter data.

Please also let us have your feedback on the catalogue by contacting the author, Paul Brock.

Davidrentzia valida
Davidrentzia valida Brock & Hasenpusch, 2007 – Holotype female in nature, Lord Howe Island, David Rentz’s photos, copyright D.C.F. Rentz

Maintaining the Database

If you notice any errors or names which are missing from the PSF then please inform the author, Paul Brock. In addition, if you are a taxonomist and describe any phasmid taxa in the future, then please send Paul a copy of your publication (as a pdf file if possible) so that he can keep the PSF up-to-date. In addition, many other publications are included, dealing with biology and ecology.