Lord Howe Island Stick Insect Facts?

Anyone have any photos of the endangered australian stick insect of Lord Howe Island?
I'm looking for information and FACTS about his stick insect.
I also need to know the scientific name of the insect. I found out it is classified as critically endangered on the IUCN Red List.

This is a photo of the Lord Howe Island Stick Insect.

Lord Howe Island Stick Insect

I you can find facts about this subject please let me know.

asked by England in Science | 4031 views | 06-26-2010 at 11:06 PM

The Lord Howe Island stick insect is golden honey brown in colour, with a white stripe down its side. Possibly the rarest insect on Earth, the Lord Howe Island stick insect was for 80 years thought to be extinct. They are large heavy bodied insects. These species are reported to be nocturnal.
Their disappearance from Lord Howe Island was caused by rats, which came ashore from a wrecked ship in 1918 and thrived. By 1930, the stick insect and 5 species of native bird had disappeared. However, in 2001, on a rock seastack called Ball's Pyramid 23 kilometres southeast of Lord Howe Island, a climber spotted seventeen of the insects.

Facts about the Lord Howe Island Stick Insect.

Reproduction/Lifecycle

Captive breeding programs are bringing this species back from the brink of extinction. The young insects are bright green resemblants of the adult insects.

Habitat

Only twenty Lord Howe Island stick insects were found confined to a single bush atop Balls Pyramid; a volcanic sphere 23 kms south east of Lord Howe Island.

In 2003, two breeding pairs were collected from Balls Pyramid, one pair sent to a Sydney private breeder, and the other to Melbourne Zoo.

Planning is underway to eradicate rats from Lord Howe Island, so this species can once again be reintroduced to its natural habitat.

Anatomy and behavior

Adult Lord Howe Island stick insects can measure up to 15 centimetres (5.9 in) in length and weigh 25 grams (0.88 oz) with females bigger than males. They are oblong in shape and have sturdy legs. Males have unusually thick thighs. Unlike most phasmids they have no wings, but are able to run quickly.

The behavior of this stick insect is highly unusual for an insect species. The males and females form some kind of a bond. The males follow the females and their activities depend on what the female is doing.

The females lay eggs while hanging from branches. Hatching can happen up to nine months later. The nymphs are first bright green and active during the day, but as they mature they turn black and become nocturnal.

Diet
The only vegetation growing on Ballís Pyramid is a kind of melaleuca, and this is what they are fed at Melbourne Zoo. Ten species of banyan and fig trees that grow on Lord Howe Island have been grown at Melbourne Zoo and have been successfully used as an alternative food.

answered by Genesis | 06-26-2010 at 11:08 PM

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