Dryococelus australis


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family

Scientific Name: Dryococelus australis
Species Authority: (Montrouzier, 1855)
Common Name(s):
English Land Lobster, Lord Howe Island Phasmid, Lord Howe Island Stick-insect

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Critically Endangered D ver 3.1
Year Published: 2002
Date Assessed: 2002-01-01
Needs updating
Assessor(s): ANZECC Endangered Fauna Network
Reviewer(s): Hilton-Taylor, C. & Pollock, C.M. (Red List Programme Office)
Dryococelus australis was thought to have become Extinct around 1920 after the introduction of rats to Lord Howe Island. However, in 2001 the species was rediscovered on Balls Pyramid, a rocky outcrop 23 km from Lord Howe Island.
1996 Extinct
1994 Extinct? (Groombridge 1994)
1990 Extinct (IUCN 1990)
1988 Extinct (IUCN Conservation Monitoring Centre 1988)
1986 Extinct (IUCN Conservation Monitoring Centre 1986)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: It was previously thought that Dryococelus australis was endemic to Lord Howe Island, Australia. In the 1960s, large stick insects were reported to exist on Balls Pyramid, a rocky outcrop 23 km away from Lord Howe Island (Smithers 1969). A scientific expedition to the rock in 2001 confirmed that this stick insect is Dryococelus australis (Macey 2001).
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: After the introduction of rats to Lord Howe island in 1918, the population dwindled and the species was thought to have become extinct in 1920. Current numbers on Balls Pyramid are not known.
Population Trend: Unknown

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: Dryococelus australis is a large, heavy-bodied species (Gurney 1947). On Lord Howe Island the species was found in large cavities in the trunks of living trees, emerging at night to feed. However, Balls Pyramid is a small, desolate, rock island without trees.
Systems: Terrestrial

Citation: ANZECC Endangered Fauna Network 2002. Dryococelus australis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.3. <>. Downloaded on 27 March 2015.
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