An amazing giant insect resurfaced after it was believed to have become extinct decades ago.
Ball’s Pyramid, a rock formation off the coast of Australia made up of the the remains of an ancient volcano, was found to be the last remaining home of the ancient tree lobster species. There had been rumors floating around for years that a large insect roamed on Ball’s Pyramid, and scientists Nicholas Carlile and David Priddel began investigating in 2001.
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The rumors turned out to be true, and the scientists discovered a colony of the bizarre insects gathered around a single bush, Providr reported.
The gigantic insects were once common, and their reemergence was considered a major discovery. Two male tree lobsters and two females were retrieved from Ball’s Pyramid in 2003 and bred. Now, hundreds of the insects exist at the Melbourne Zoo.
“It's a very romantic story, in that there's always that hope that one day, they may go home," zookeeper Rohan Cleave said.
The San Diego Zoo attempted to breed the insects but was initially unsuccessful, NPR reported. It plans to try again once it can grow the plants on which the tree lobsters, also known as Lord Howe Island stick insects, feed.
“It was a massive, massive PR event for insects, especially an insect like this, which is not one you would deem charismatic, you know, for the most part," San Diego Zoo curator of entomology Paige Howorth said.