Giant Tree Lobsters Rediscovered
Eighty years after they disappeared, tree lobsters have been rediscovered, living near an old volcano in Australia. And no, they’re not actually “lobsters,” but special six-legged insects that were thought to be extinct decades ago. The rare “tree lobsters,” otherwise commonly known as Lord Howe Island walking sticks (Dryococelus australis), were thought to be decimated in 1918 when a British ship ran aground on Lord Howe Island, the creatures’ native home. On board were a few black rats, which invaded the island and wrought havoc to the natural ecosystem. By 1960, everyone had assumed the creepy crawler had gone the way of the dodo. But two Australian scientists made the leap to Balls Pyramid, just 13 miles southeast of their original home, on a hunch to hunt for the tree lobsters. There in 2001, they discovered a small, surviving population, hovered around a single plant.