Lord Howe Island: World’s Rarest Insects

The story of Ball’s Pyramid would not be complete without the story of the world’s rarest insect – the Lord Howe Island Stick Insect aka Tree Lobster. Once upon a time these large and very unusual stick insects were very common on the Lord Howe Island and were even used as bait in the nineteenth century. By 1920, rats ravished the island and the insect was declared extinct. In 1964, a group of climbers on the Ball’s Pyramid found a dead insect. All attempts to find a live one were unsuccessful until a team of biologist stayed at Ball’s Pyramid overnight and found one single plant bush with 24 insects 120m above sea level in a crevice of a rock. This made the stick insect the world’s rarest at only 24 remaining. 2 insect were removed to the Melbourne Zoo and successfully reproduced there. There are now several thousands in Melbourne and about a dozen on the lord Howe Island itself at the museum. The museum was kind enough to let me hold them and photograph them for this story! Oh, and in 2016, a group of unauthorized rogue climbed scaled the Ball’s Pyramid to the top and found another group of the stuck insects there!