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A critically-endangered Lord Howe Island Stick Insect hatching

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In a world first, zookeeper Rohan Cleave captured the amazing hatching process of a critically endangered Lord Howe Island Stick Insect at Melbourne Zoo. The eggs incubate for over 6 months and until now the hatching process has never been witnessed. If you didn’t see it you wouldn’t believe it could fit in that egg!

Krulwich Wonders has a great post with excellent photos of this six-legged black giant and the incredible story of how, with just 24 of them living under one bush on a remote island cliff in 2001, scientists spent two years determining if they could move a few, finally breeding two at the Melbourne Zoo in Australia. This passage gives some detail on the conservation group’s success:

When Jane Goodall visited in 2008, Patrick [Honan, of the zoo’s invertebrate conservation breeding group,] showed her rows and rows of incubating eggs: 11,376 at that time, with about 700 adults in the captive population. Lord Howe Island walking sticks seem to pair off — an unusual insect behavior — and Goodall says Patrick “showed me photos of how they sleep at night, in pairs, the male with three of his legs protectively over the female beside him.”

The co-curator was into the suspense of the video. The details of the story echo that…

via @990000.

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