Although it seems that some animals are completely extinct, there are still some animals that are still alive, just living in invisible places. This is more than you think. Some animals have been deliberately wiped out or extinct by humans, but they are still alive, sometimes even as part of a large healthy population, completely unaware of their so-called extinction. This is what biologists call the Lazarus taxa. They are thought to have died and then “brought back to life” by new discoveries.
Today we are going to talk about Tree Lobsters
What a name. “Tree lobsters” conjures up ideas of canopy-dwelling arthropods ready to drop down on unsuspecting passers-by with nasty claws. In reality, the tree lobster is a type of stick insect called the Lord Howe Island stick insect, and has a gentle disposition. The lucky few researchers who get the chance can hold the creatures in their hands without incident.
These insects were once very common on Lord Howe Island, a small island between Australia and New Zealand. Then in 1918, a ship crashed on its shore and rats managed to escape the ship and create a home on the island. Within a few years, the rats had completely wiped out the tree lobster population.
No living specimen was seen again until 80 years later on a rock formation a few miles offshore of Lord Howe. After a thorough search, only 24 individuals were found, earning the bug the title of “the rarest insect in the world.” In the past two decades, scientists have managed to recover the species, breeding tens of thousands of new individuals.