The Rarest Insect In The World
Rarest insect in the world......
The Lord Howe Island stick insect is the rarest insect in the world. The remnants of a once massive volcano, Ball's Pyramid juts 1,843 feet out of the Pacific ocean. Discovered in 1788, the barren, rocky spire was thought to be devoid of life until 2001 when a group of scientists discovered what may be the world's rarest insect.
The Lord Howe Island stick insect (Dryococelus australis) had not been seen alive in over 70 years. Known as "land lobsters" or "walking sausages," the six inch long insects had once been common on the neighboring Lord Howe Island, but were assumed to have been eaten into extinction by black rats introduced when a supply ship ran aground in 1918.
Yet in 2001 the scientists found a colony of the huge Lord Howe Island stick insects living under a single bush, a hundred feet up the otherwise entirely infertile rock. Somehow a few of the wingless insects escaped and managed--by means still unknown--to traverse 23 kilometers of Open Ocean, land on Ball's Pyramid, and survive there. Just 27 of the insects have been found on the rocky spire. They are currently being bred in captivity.
The Lord Howe Island stick insect is golden honey brown in colour, with a white stripe down its side. Females grow to a length of 12cm, and males up to 10.6cm. They are large heavy bodied insects. These species are reported to be nocturnal. Scientific Name is Dryococelus australis. Other Common Namesare Lord Howe Island Phasmid, Land Lobster. Species documented in 1855 by Montrouzier.
Captive breeding programs are bringing this species back from the brink of extinction. The young insects are bright green resemblants of the adult insects.
Only twenty Lord Howe Island stick insects were found confined to a single bush atop Balls Pyramid; a volcanic sphere 23 kms south east of Lord Howe Island.
In 2003, two breeding pairs were collected from Balls Pyramid, one pair sent to a Sydney private breeder, and the other to Melbourne Zoo.
Planning is underway to eradicate rats from Lord Howe Island, so this species can once again be reintroduced to its natural habitat.
In 1921 the Lord Howe Island stick insect was pronounced extinct. In 2001, the stick insect was rediscovered by Nick Carlile and Dean Hiscox on Balls Pyramid off Lord Howe Island.
The stick insects became extinct after black rats invaded Lord Howe when the supply ship Mokambo ran aground in 1918. The rats consumed the insect to an assumed extinction.
The Lord Howe Island stick insect is being labelled the 'rarest insect in the world'.
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