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Still Waters

'Extinct' Tree lobster found after 80 years

43 posts in this topic

A narrow and forbidding rock that stands higher than the Empire State Building, it does not look like the most welcoming place to set up home.

But that did not stop an insect which was thought to be extinct for 80 years from building its last known colony on the 1,844ft high Ball’s Pyramid.

Scientists have discovered 24 of the creatures living 500ft above the South Pacific Ocean around the single plant that had survived on the rock.

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Great find! Well done, guys.

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I'm glad they are still alive..... but I'll be seeing them in my nightmares for awhile. :ph34r:

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Nobody could say how they got there in the first place - but four have now been taken off and have bred thousands more to ensure their species survives.

Umm...Yay?:unsure2:

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I'm glad they are still alive..... but I'll be seeing them in my nightmares for awhile. :ph34r:

No kidding. Large insects creep me out!

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Whoa, I love stories like this. It's like...redemption and shizz.

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This is what makes living all about.

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Uh oh. This is going to be used by all the bigfoot believers as evidence. I can hear it now. "Science thought this was extinct. Why can't a bigfoot hide from us too"?

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I am curious. The article said that climbers claim to have seen droppings. That's why the 2 scientists went to investigate. Pretty knowledgable climbers to identify droppings of an insect thought to be extinct. :unsure:

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Posted (edited)

Wow, on a single rock out in the ocean. What are the odds of them ever being found? I want to pet one!

And now I have the song 'Rock Lobster' stuck in my head. Thanks for that article...

Edited by xROCKIEx

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Out of reach of humans is best.

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Glad they survived, we have a lot of blood on our hands already. :(

Out of reach of humans is best.

So true. Haha

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Wait, out of reach of humans, there were fourteen left. Now that humans found them, there are thousands.

I get that it's cool to dump on humans all the time and all, but come on...a little credit where it's due.

And yeah, I sure that somewhere, someone is going to claim that we introduced dogs, cats, rats, or sold diseased blankets which killed the previous tree lobsters, but really, did anyone check before assuming it is the fault of the humans?

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So I take is as a bug we shouldnt squish

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Man if I found that dude in my house... I would have to capture him and take him outside... hummm... After a period of freaking out!

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Wonderful find. How can we ever doubt natures tenacity.

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They survive there, because we aren't there! Lucky little guys - they found a place without the monsters. :)

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Wow! Those guys are big!

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The baby ones are kinda cute. :blink:

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That is cool.

Also ball's rock is cool too. Never knew it existed.

Two discoveries for the price of one for me!

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Wait, out of reach of humans, there were fourteen left. Now that humans found them, there are thousands.

I get that it's cool to dump on humans all the time and all, but come on...a little credit where it's due.

And yeah, I sure that somewhere, someone is going to claim that we introduced dogs, cats, rats, or sold diseased blankets which killed the previous tree lobsters, but really, did anyone check before assuming it is the fault of the humans?

I don't think Se7en meant it like that, yeah it's good that we found them and yeah it's good that we can bring them back from near extinction....

But we have also done things like kill off the Thylacine and many other creatures. A lot of animals would be better off if Humans didn't know about them.

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What could possibly be done for those left on the island is to reintroduce the plant species on which the insect feeds. Granted this will not be easy given the vertical nature of the island, but likely the same plant species exists on Lord Howe Island. It should be raised from seed or very throughly cleaned cuttings if propagation from cuttings is possible. The cleaning is to prevent things like ants, scale insects or other pests and diseases from reaching Ball's Pyramid. The next problem would be establishing the plants on an island with little soil. It would also require hauling water up to the planting site until the plants are established. I suppose you could also create (and perhaps airlift in) a giant planter where soil could be brought in for the vegetation, or tuck "ball and burlap" individual plants into pockets in the rocks. These are plants planted into biodegradable burlap sacks that temporarily hold the soil and roots until the plants establish themselves. Granted this is a lot of trouble to save an insect that is already successfully breeding, but if you want to maintain a wild population it would give them a better chance. You also have plenty of offspring now in case the wild population has been exterminated. Finally they should look for other suitable island outcroppings and establish at least one other colony in case storm or disease destroys the original.

I have always felt that protection and controlled breeding are great to bolster rare species but that is only part of the equation. In the Florida Keys there is another endangered insect, one with perhaps a better public image than a stick insect; Schaus' Swallowtail Butterfly, large and beautifully colored. They are, or were, captive breeding and releasing adults and that's great. But I believe the insect only feeds (as a larva) on two indigenous plants. It would seem that a better plan would be to provide all homeowners adjacent to areas where the butterfly is known to occur with free plants that the larva feeds upon and see if they would participate in a recovery program. It would be voluntary and the wildlife people could help establish the plants for the first season. You could also establish a nursery of sorts in the same area where hundreds (or thousands) of the plants were field grown, creating a lure for the adults and a safe place for the caterpillars.

These are expensive solutions and a lot of trouble to save "just an insect". Granted there are probably better places to spend limited resources, but with each loss our world is diminished a bit more.

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So is it best to boil them live?

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