The Lord Howe Island stick insect, which you see hatching above, looking like an alien struggling out of a human torso, will grow to the size of your hand. It’s also called a “tree lobster” — that’s how big it is.
The most incredible thing about these insects, though, is not how big they are or how Geigeresque they look, but how close they came to not existing. In the early 20th century, a British trade ship crashed on the South Pacific island that these stick insects inhabited, and black rats from its hold took over the island and ate all the bugs. One very small population survived, hanging out around one tiny little bush on another island (really more of a bare outcropping of rock), until a couple of Australian scientists found them there.
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