Lord Howe Island Stick Insect returned home
Twenty Lord Howe Island stick insects have been returned to Lord Howe Island.
The phasmids, which grow to 15cm and are known as land lobsters, had been driven to extinction on the island caused, it is believed, by rats which arrived by ship in 1918.
In the 1960s a dead Lord Howe Island stick insect was discovered on a rocky outcrop 25 kilometers from Lord Howe called Ball's Pyramid. In 2001 a tiny population of less than 20 animals was found surviving.
Individuals from this tiny group, surviving for over 80 years beyond the extinction on Lord Howe Island, were brought back to mainland Australia for an intensive breeding program.
Today the 10 male and 10 female insects brought back to Lord Howe are on display in a special facility but the long term plan is to re-introduce them to the wild once a rat eradication program (due to commence 2011) is complete.
Prepared using article "Rare 'land lobsters' returned to Lord Howe Island", ABC, 9/12/08, http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2008/12/09/2441280.htm, accessed 9/12/08 and "What manner of beast is a phasmid?", WLMD, 19/10/06, http://www.wherelightmeetsdark.com/index.php?PAGE_id=33&PAGE_user_op=view_page&module=pagemaster. Photo from the ABC source article where it is attributed "After a five year breeding program at Melbourne Zoo, 20 Lord Howe Island Stick insects have been returned to the island. (Melbourne Zoo)"
Posted by: admin on 08th Dec 2008 09:15 PM
Updated by: admin on 08th Dec 2008 09:15 PM
Expires: 01st Jan 2013 12:00 AM