San Diego Zoo Global Adds Critically Endangered Insect to Collection

Posted at 11:53 pm June 27, 2012 by PR
JUNE 27, 2012
                   PUBLIC RELATIONS

San Diego Zoo Global Adds Critically Endangered Insect to Collection
Three Lord Howe Island Stick Insects Hatch at Zoo

     Over the last week, three critically endangered Lord Howe Island stick insects, also known as tree lobsters, hatched at the San Diego Zoo. This is the first time in San Diego Zoo Global’s history that it has participated in the reproduction of a critically endangered insect.
     The Lord Howe Island stick insect was last seen in the wild in 1920.  The species was believed to be extinct until 2001, when a small group was found living on Ball’s Pyramid, a remnant of a volcano in the Pacific Ocean, 12 miles southeast of Lord Howe Island, Australia.  Four individuals from this group were taken into managed care in Australia in hopes of bringing the species back from the brink of extinction.
     Since their rediscovery, the Zoos Victoria Melbourne Zoo has been working to breed these rare animals with great successes. Earlier this year, eggs for this critically endangered insect were sent to the San Diego Zoo to establish an assurance colony separate from the Melbourne group.
     Since arriving at the San Diego Zoo, the eggs have been kept at temperatures between 78 and 82 degrees Fahrenheit with 80-percent humidity. The just-hatched stick insects, called nymphs, currently measure about one inch long and are light green. They  will grow to be around seven inches long and will become a very shiny, dark black-brown when they mature. There are more than 3000 species of stick insect, and they live on every continent except Antarctica.

Photo taken on June 27, 2012, by Tammy Spratt, San Diego Zoo.

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