A genetic analysis showed that a stick insect found on another island was the same species as one that had been wiped out by rats on Australia’s Lord Howe Island.
By JOANNA KLEIN
The tree lobster, a six-inch-long stick insect, was declared extinct in 1960. Credit Rohan Cleave/Melbourne Zoo, Australia
The tree lobster, one of the rarest insects on Earth, has lived a rather twisted life story.
Scientifically known as Dryococelus australis, this six-inch-long stick bug with a lobster-esque exoskeleton once occupied Lord Howe Island in the Tasman Sea, between Australia and New Zealand.
In 1918, rats escaping a capsized steamship swam ashore. The tree lobsters became rat chow. Two years later, all tree lobsters seemed to have vanished, and by 1960 they were declared extinct.