Rare Giant Stick Insect

January 11, 2016 | Posted In: General

Rare Giant Stick Insect

An insect named after “Lady Gaga” has children that have become the first insects of this type to successfully breed in captivity. The giant stick insects, known as Ctenomorpha gargantua laid their own eggs, making the Australia Museum Victoria the first in the world to have an active breeding colony.

The grandchildren of Lady Gaga, measured in at a whopping 50 centimeters (20 inches) in length! The insects were found in Australia near Cairns in 2014. When Gaga arrived at the museum, the staff made sure to carefully look after her eggs. Lady Gaga’s daughter has surpassed her size, coming in at 56.5 centimeters (22.2 inches).

“We didn’t know anything about their biology at all, so we based it all on trial and error. It’s always hardest to rear the first generation in captivity,” said Maik Fiedel, coordinator at the Live Exhibits.

None of these insects have been found in sufficient number to be observed in the wild. “It was only described scientifically in 2006 — only a handful of males have been found, and only two females before [Lady Gaga],” Fiedel explained.

Breeding these insects in captivity for research. It currently is not known whether the stick insect is endangered or not. Australia has up to 140 species of stick insects.

“We can’t prove there are limited numbers in the wild,” Fiedel said, “but it makes sense to breed them just in case … to make sure these animals are always available. Here at the museum, we can begin to understand their biology and ecology.”