Dryococelus australis 


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Arthropoda Insecta Phasmida Phasmatidae

Scientific Name: Dryococelus australis
Species Authority: (Montrouzier, 1855)
Common Name(s):
English Lord Howe Island Stick-insect, Lord Howe Island Phasmid, Land Lobster
Eubulides spuria Kirby, 1904
Karabidion australe Montrouzier, 1855
Taxonomic Source(s): Brock, P.D. 2015. Phasmida Species File Online. Version 5.0/5.0. Available at: (Accessed: 29 May 2015).

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.
Previously published Red List assessments:
1996 Extinct (EX)
1994 Extinct? (Ex?)
1990 Extinct (Ex)
1988 Extinct (Ex)
1986 Extinct (Ex)
1983 Endangered (E)

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).
Countries occurrence:
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.
Current Population Trend: Unknown
Additional data:

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 2002: e.T6852A12810627. . Downloaded on 31 May 2016.
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