Journal of Insect Conservation

, Volume 12, Issue 3–4, pp 399–413 | Cite as

Notes on the biology, captive management and conservation status of the Lord Howe Island Stick Insect (Dryococelus australis) (Phasmatodea)

Original Paper

Abstract

The Lord Howe Island Stick Insect (Dryococelus australis: Phasmatodea: Phasmatidae: Eurycanthinae) is a large, flightless stick insect once thought to be extinct but rediscovered on an island (Balls Pyramid) near Lord Howe Island in 2001. A captive population at Melbourne Zoo is now in its fourth generation and aspects of the biology of the species are discussed. Observations focussed on the eggs as indicators of the health of the population and inbreeding depression, but included data on the juveniles where possible. Behavioural observations reveal that this species is very different from other Australian stick insects, but similar in many ways to overseas members of the Eurycanthinae. Veterinary interventions and post mortems have provided substantial information about the captive population and its environmental stresses, and have wider implications for captive invertebrate populations, particularly those involved in conservation programs. Evidence of inbreeding and the conservation significance of this species is discussed in context with other programs and their implications.

Keywords

Inbreeding Insect husbandry Insect pathology Ex situ conservation Captive management 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Melbourne ZooParkvilleAustralia

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