Hundreds of tiny stick insect eggs were sent to Bristol Zoo in November 2015 as part of an international effort to save one of the world’s rarest insects.
The eggs incubate up to 6 months before hatching. Young nymphs are bright green in colour and become darker as they grow, eventually turning a dark brown or even black. Females are larger than males and can reach 13 cm in length. Adult Lord Howe stick insects are wingless and nocturnal.
Greens Horticulture has kindly donated lamps to help grow the stick insect’s food.
Lord Howe Island stick insect image courtesy of Rohan Cleave
Lord Howe Island stick insects are herbivores. Here in Bug World we feed them on several different plants.
In the wild the Lord Howe Island stick insect currently only survives on a tall rocky outcrop known as Ball’s Pyramid which is several kilometres away from Lord Howe Island. Their population and habitat is tightly monitored.
The Lord Howe Island stick insect is Critically Endangered. We were the first collection outside of Australia to successfully breed the species as part of a global conservation programme.
It was driven to the brink of extinction by black rats in the early Twentieth Century. In 2001 they were rediscovered on Balls Pyramid, a rat-free volcanic outcrop 23 km off the coast of Lord Howe Island.
Here at Bristol Zoo we are successfully managing a new population of Lord Howe Island stick insects in Bug World.
Here at Bristol Zoo our Lord Howe Island stick insects live in Bug World. We were selected as having the necessary expertise and facilities to receive 300 of the precious, pea-sized eggs, along with two other zoos in Canada and the USA.
You can find the Lord Howe Island stick-insect at Bug World, next to the Aquarium and above The Hide Café Restaurant
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