The Lord Howe Island Stick Insect (Dryococelus australis) is an insect in the Phasmatidae family of stick insects. It is a phasmid. It is also known as the Tree Lobster. It was thought to be extinct by 1920, but it was rediscovered in 2001, and there is now a breeding program in some zoos, such as the Melbourne Zoo in Australia.
The Lord Howe Island Stick Insect has an oblong black or dark-brown body with strong legs. Most phasmids have wings. The Lord Howe Island Stick Insect does not have wings, but it can run quickly. It has spikes on its body and on its hind (back) legs. The female has more spikes than the male. The spikes and colour help it to camouflage itself in plants and bushes.
It measures up to 20 centimetres (8 inches) in length. The female is larger than the male.
It is native to Lord Howe Island near Australia.
It is herbivorous. It eats plant leaves.
The female Lord Howe Island Stick Insect has an ovipositor, which is a tube that she uses to lay eggs. She lays eggs while hanging from a branch. The eggs land on leaves. They hatch after about 270 days. The female can have eggs, without the presence of a male. This is called parthenogenesis.
The life cycle is egg, nymph, and adult. The nymphs are bright green and diurnal, active during the day. As they become adults, they turn black and are nocturnal, active at night.
Location of photographs: Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University in Philadelphia, America (via live broadcast), collection 1916
Photographer: Martina Nicolls
Martina Nicolls: SIMILAR BUT DIFFERENT IN THE ANIMAL KINGDOM