Saturday, March 16, 2013

A “Sticky” Situation for this endangered species!

Patrick Honan holds two of the rare Lord Howe Island stick insects.My son, Noah, told me about this week’s endangered species, the Lord Howe stick insect (Dryococelus australis) (island photo is home, sweet home for the stick insect, credit:  John White; insect photo credit Rod Morris/  The fascinating story of this insect is one of the best endangered species stories I’ve heard in a long time.  Here’s the Reader’s Digest version:

  • Huge stick insect lives on Lord Howe Island in the south Pacific near Australia
  • In 1918 a supply ship runs aground on the island and inadvertently introduces black rats to the island
  • The black rats feast on the great big, tasty stick insects; insects are believed to be extinct by 1960 
  • But wait! In 2002, scientists might have found the stick insects on Ball’s Pyramid (which, by the way, is why my two sons found this story so funny, being 12 and 14-year old boys…..)

I’m not going to reinvent the wheel – you just have to read this story, expertly told by the folks at NPR:  Six-Legged Giant Finds Secret Hideaway, Hides For 80 Years.

Ball's Pyramid in the Tasman sea is located 19 kilometers from Lord Howe Island east of Australia.

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