When most phasmids moult it is very noticeable; from experience I believe they grow between thirty and fourty per-cent larger with each moult (based off size comparisons between individuals of similar age and their left over skins after the moult, keeping in mind that the old skin will have shrunk slightly, of course) so it's great to watch them grow. In general the insects get longer and a little bulkier (or a lot bulkier if you're an L2/L3 ET female), well, this largest nymph that caught my eye is most likely at least fifty per-cent larger, is twenty per-cent bulkier and sports a pair of wings.
Females develop a pair of unusable but just-plain-cute wings upon their last moult which means... this lady is an adult.
What's this?! Didn't I say they had two more moults to go?! Yes. I did. I got it wrong. I doubted my ability to count these moults properly and now I have a beautiful adult female Extatosoma tiaratum who I raised from an egg. Wow. That's incredible! God is so good!
So what did I do wrong? I kept thinking back to Gaia and Terra when they were sub-adults and thought they were larger than my trio, which could have been the case of course depending upon genetics. The new adult female is a bit smaller than Terra when I last measured her but as Terra got to egg-laying age she got a bit bigger so we'll have to wait and see how things go.
I'm naming the new adult "Ghost", so there's now a new category to follow her progress. I'll start looking for a mate for her in about a week (she'll start to lay eggs in two to four weeks) as well as for the others as the two sub-adult females will moult within the next two/three weeks, too.
I'm completely and utterly blown away. I can't believe that this huge creature was the first tiny little nymph that started pottering about in those blurry photos from February - how astounding. I honestly thought it'd take about six months for these ones to reach adulthood but it's easier to forget that temperature affects the rate at which they grow.
Over winter these little ones spent their time in a heated enclosure so they will have naturally grown a little faster, I'm not sure how much faster as I've not raised nymphs before but it's certainly a fascinating experience.
Hopefully Ghost will survive to lay eggs and start her own legacy... we'll just have to wait and see.
God bless you!