Large stick insects, nicknamed “tree lobsters” were once a common sight on Lord Howe Island, located hundreds of miles off Australia's eastern shore in the Tasman Sea.   But in 1918, rats were accidently introduced to the island and they had an appetite for tree lobster.   The last stick insect on the island was seen in 1920.  

However, in 2001, Australian scientists rediscovered a small population of tree lobsters, and named called them the rarest insects in the world.    In 2003 two pair of tree lobsters were taken to Australia and bred in captivity, with the hope of reintroducing them to Lord Howe Island after the rats are eliminated.

tree lobster

Photo Credit: Rohan Cleave, Melbourne Zoo, Australia