Perhaps nature's greatest survivor, this huge stick insect originates from Lord Howe Island in the Pacific Ocean. It is so big (growing up to 12 centimeters long!) and has such an impressive exoskeleton that Europeans named them "tree lobsters." However in 1918 a ship ran aground on the island and some black rats escaped and developed a taste for the stick insect. Two years later there was not a single sighting of the tree lobster, and they were presumed extinct. Yet 80 years later they were discovered on the rocky outcrop of Ball's Pyramid. No one knows how they got there, or how they survived in such a sparse environment for so long, but some were taken to safety and as of 2008 there were around 700 of the Lord Howe stick insect living in protected captivity.
By Alistair Ross, online journalism Intern Frontier runs conservation, development, teaching and adventure travel projects in over 50 countries worldwide - so join us and explore the world!
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