DNA evidence shows the insects survived what scientists thought was an extinction
Rohan Cleave, Melbourne Zoo
It’s a rare triumph when a species comes back from the dead. A new genetic analysis has officially established what many entomologists and conservation biologists hoped was true: The Lord Howe stick insect (Dryococelus australis) lives.
Nicknamed “tree lobsters,” the dark-brown crawlers are nocturnal, flightless creatures that can grow up to 15 centimeters long. They feed on tea trees, which are dense shrubs found on Lord Howe Island in New South Wales, Australia. Black rats, introduced to the island in the 1920s, wiped out the walking sticks. Or so researchers thought.
In 2001, scientists climbing Ball’s Pyramid, a treacherous rocky outcrop southeast of Lord Howe Island,