Back in 1960, the Dryococelus Australis – which was better known as the stick bug or tree lobster on Lord Howe Island, located between Australia and New Zealand – was declared extinct. Rats that were able to escape a capsized boat just off the coast of the island made their way onto it in 1918 and started eating the stick bugs until they were eventually all gone. The bugs were, for all intents and purposes, wiped off the face of the earth, never to be seen again.
However, according to a recent report, scientists believe they have found evidence that shows that the once “extinct” stick bugs are still living.
A small group of the stick bugs were actually found in 2001 on a rock cliff called Ball’s Pyramid that is situated about 12 miles off the coast of Lord Howe Island. Initially, scientists believed that, because sticks bugs are incapable of swimming and because Lord Howe Island and Ball’s Pyramid are not in any way connected, the stick bugs that were found couldn’t be related to the ones that went extinct. However, after digging deeper into the genome of the stick bugs that were found, they discovered that they had the same genetic makeup of the ones that once lived on Lord Howe Island.
This is obviously a huge development in the world of insects, because it means that the stick bugs are not extinct after all. Scientists used the stick bugs found on Ball’s Pyramid to create a new stick bug population, and many of those bugs are now living in zoos and museums around the world, according to The New York Times. And while there’s a good chance that they won’t ever populate Lord Howe Island again—the island is still overrun with rats that are threatening other bird and insect populations—they are, at the very least, flourishing once again and proving that they are most definitely not extinct as scientists once thought.
While it’s great to hear that stick bugs appear to be back, Blue Ridge Termite realizes that most people don’t want bugs and other pests inside of their homes. If you are dealing with an infestation, contact us today to schedule pest control services.