Are you a survivor? Then maybe you can relate to the story of the Lord Howe stick insect, Dryococelus australis–at was 12 centimeters long, the heaviest stick insect in the world. It had been as presumed extinct until 2001 when two VERY COMMITTED Australian biologists followed a hunch and climbed up 500 feet in the dark with flashlights to have a look.
The story, published in an NPR blog is inspiring and offers a glimmer of hope for anyone who marvels in the diversity of life. In an age when insect (and other animal and plant) species are disappearing at an unprecedented rate, this story is worth hearing. Like numerous other island species (including many of the fauna on the Hawaiian islands) this species’ demise was driven by the introduction of commensal rats from ships.
One of the most inspiring speakers on this subject is E.O. Wilson, possibly the most famous entomologist of our time. I hope you will check out the story of the Lord Howe stick insect, and if you have time, listen to Dr. Wilson address a 2007 TED conference on “the little things that run the world”.