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Lord Howe Island Stick Insect

Dryococelus australis


Brown black they can reach up to 15cm, females are larger and bulkier with an obvious ovipositor, whilst the males have sturdier 'thighs' & graspers. They are flightless & nocturnal & only live for 12-18 months. During this time the female lays up to 300 eggs which then take up to 8mths to hatch.


They went extinct from Lord Howe Is in the early 20th century when rats got on to the island from a sinking ship! Believed extinct for over 80years, they were rediscovered in the early part of this century by climbers on Balls pyramid, an inhospitable granite outcrop off Lord Howe. Only 20 survive in the wild on a single precarious bush! Melbourne zoo has the primary breeding and research program.


I was soo excited to see these at Melb zoo as I had seen David Attenborough with them & read a couple of articles about their rediscovery - they look quite prehistoric, it felt like a privelidge to see something critically endangered & the work the zoos doing is very impressive - in theory they will one day be established back on Lord Howe, but not until the rats are eradicated.

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SeraArnold 7 years ago

Thanx they're kinda amazing - & have only survived because of a series of 'happy accidents'

Caleb Steindel
Caleb Steindel 7 years ago

Wikipedia says only 24 left. Great spotting

SeraArnold 7 years ago

Thanx Mark - they were st the zoo though, so bit of a cheat!

Mark Ridgway
Mark Ridgway 7 years ago

Excellent spotting Sera

SeraArnold 7 years ago

Thank you both - & thanx Martin for the jeuvenile stage photos, they look far more 'phasmid-y' when green! Apparently the bush they grow on is bothe threatened by & anchored by morning glory - yep their survival is a kind of miracle! Cheers

Neil Ross
Neil Ross 7 years ago

How anything manages to cling to Balls Pyramid is quite baffling. A wonderful spotting, Sera, and really good info.

MartinL 7 years ago

Yes they are neat. The Zoo is asking local schoolchildren to assist breeding them as a wonderful education opportunity about endangered wildlife.
Good luck getting rid of the rats from a whole island :(
Here is a young one :)

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Spotted on Aug 20, 2014
Submitted on Aug 21, 2014

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