Somewhere in the middle of the South Pacific an imposing spire of rock juts out of the ocean. The spear shaped rock formation, named “Ball’s Pyramid” is actually the top of a 7 million year old volcano. It’s over 1,800 feet high and very narrow — from above its peak looks like the edge of a knife.
Basically, Ball’s Pyramid looks like a supervillain’s lair, so it’s only fitting that it’s also the last known home of a species of terrifying giant insect thought for years to be extinct. These bugs, once referred to as “tree lobsters”, can grow up to a foot long and used to be common on a neighbouring island until they were wiped out by invasive rats in the 1920s. Nobody really knows how these insects ended up on Ball’s Pyramid, since they can’t fly, but nevertheless that’s where they were found, huddling under one of the few scraggly bushes that cling to the rocky island.
I don’t think you get to be called an insect anymore when you’re that big. Nightmare creature seems more fitting.
Now personally, if I were the one who discovered the giant terror bugs on the menacing looking island my recommendation would probably be immediate firebombing, but then I guess that’s why I’m not a scientist. Instead two of the bugs were sent to the Melbourne Zoo for breeding. There are now over 700 giant terror bugs at the Melbourne Zoo.
The latest plan is to try and re-introduce the insects to Lord Howe Island, the place they originally lived before being wiped out. There’s a couple problems with this plan — first, the island is still covered in rats, and second, the people living on Lord Howe Island would prefer the Melbourne Zoo kept their giant terror insects to themselves.
In an effort to convince the islanders, the Melbourne Zoo and Museum have launched a public relations campaign to soften the image of their giant terror insects. This campaign includes renaming the bug the Lord Howe Island stick insect, and posting a video of baby stick insects being born online. You can check that out after the jump…
I stand by my firebombing proposal.
Ball’s Pyramid pic via Shutterstock
giant terror insects pic via Rod Morris