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The Rarest Insect In The World

Updated on December 15, 2013

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'.

Another informative hub by the same author:


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    • gajanis786 profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago

      Thank you rajan jolly for reading and liking this hub, I am encouraged.

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 

      5 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      I have not heard of this insect so it was a good bit of information to read. Thanks.

    • profile image

      stick insect 

      6 years ago

      where do u find the jungle nymph stick insect?

    • gajanis786 profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago

      PDXKaraokeGuy you are most welcome....thanks.

    • PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

      Justin W Price 

      7 years ago from Juneau, Alaska

      keep writing. i'll keep returning

    • gajanis786 profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago

      Thank you PDXKaraokeGuy for reading and liking this hub.....I appreciate.

    • gajanis786 profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago

      Ben Zoltak yes rats have always contributed a lot towards these wildlife destruction and in this case also they were responsible to make Lord Howe Island stick insect extinct until it was re-discovered in 2001. On the other hand, the praying mantis which you saw could be as big as a size of a house cat.....thanks for your comments.

    • Ben Zoltak profile image

      Ben Zoltak 

      7 years ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA

      RATS! They're always ruining island wildlife aren't they? The Lord Howe Island stick insect sounds and looks really cool. I saw a Praying Mantis this summer with my son, it flew right by us and I was incredulous, "What the heck was that?"

      It looked like a bird it was so huge. Fun hub. BOO RATS!!!


    • PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

      Justin W Price 

      7 years ago from Juneau, Alaska

      Thank u for sharing. U've enlightened me once again!

    • gajanis786 profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago

      Thank you MSantana for reading and liking this article....yes these humans and wild creature interactions are very old and do exist in every era, the most important thing is that what lessons we humans can derive from these creatures which has been an integral part of every society.Thanks.

    • MSantana profile image


      7 years ago from Madison Wisconsin

      Your article shows the interface between humans and wild creatures. And the many unintended things that happen in those interactions.

      BTW-thanks for comments about my articles. I truly appreciate them. I like your stories too :-)

    • gajanis786 profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago

      Thank you badegg for liking this hub....I am really encouraged.

    • badegg profile image

      Del Banks 

      7 years ago from Southern Appalachians

      It is incredible how we find different species that we thought were long gone. It really supports Darwin's theory of survival of the fittest. Life truly finds a way!

      As a former prefessional naturalist and an ongoing nature enthusiast, I found your hub to be particularly insightful and loaded with good informaton. Great hub! Thanks!

    • gajanis786 profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago

      Thank you Wayne Brown for stopping by and liking this hub.

    • Wayne Brown profile image

      Wayne Brown 

      7 years ago from Texas

      Amazing...good thing they didn't send me as I would have probably come back and told them that I found nothing but a praying mantis! LOL! Thanks for sharing. WB

    • gajanis786 profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago

      Thanks Bard of Ely.I feel encouraged to know that you found this hub interesting.Have a good day.

    • Bard of Ely profile image

      Steve Andrews 

      7 years ago from Lisbon, Portugal

      I am fascinated by insects so found this hub really interesting!

    • gajanis786 profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago

      Thanks James A Watkins for liking this hub....I am encouraged.

    • James A Watkins profile image

      James A Watkins 

      8 years ago from Chicago

      Thank you for this insightful Hub. As an amateur etymologist I did not know about this bug until today.


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