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Saving the Lord Howe Island Stick Insect

Rohan Cleave   Melbourne Zoo
Coral Tulloch   Illustrator

Colour illustrations
32 pages, 220 x 285 mm
Publisher: CSIRO Publishing

    Hardback - September 2015
ISBN: 9781486301126 - AU $ 24.95



Phasmid is the amazing true story of the Lord Howe Island Phasmid, or Stick Insect. Believed to be extinct for nearly 80 years, the phasmids were rediscovered on Balls Pyramid, a volcanic outcrop 23 kilometres off the coast of Lord Howe Island, Australia. News of their unbelievable survival made headlines around the world and prompted an extraordinary conservation effort to save this remarkable invertebrate.

This wonderful tale captures the life of one of the world's most critically endangered invertebrates, from beginning life as an egg to surviving harsh environments and the hopeful return to their homeland, Lord Howe Island.

With a captivating narrative by Rohan Cleave, invertebrate zookeeper at Melbourne Zoo, and stunning watercolour illustrations by renowned artist Coral Tulloch, Phasmid is a positive story about one species' incredible survival in a time of worldwide species decline.

Phasmid is ideal for parents and young readers (aged 4-7).

Honour Book, The CBCA Eve Pownall Award for Information Books 2016

Shortlisted for The Wilderness Society's Annual Environment Award for Children's Literature 2016


  • Phasmid Teachers' Notes PDF
  • A uniquely Australian story
  • Stunning watercolour illustrations by renowned artist Coral Tulloch
  • Amazing story of the rediscovery of this species and the efforts to save and hopefully one day release them back into the wild
  • The Lord Howe Island Stick Insect is one of Zoos Victoria's 20 priority species

 "Phasmid tells the remarkable story of the rediscovery and rescue of the Lord Howe Island Stick Insect. It was thought that this species was extinct – lost forever – until one moonlit night a few surviving insects were found on a single bush peeking out of a rock crevice. The race was on to save the species, and with the determination and passion of some dedicated people, the Lord Howe Island Stick Insect was brought back from the edge of extinction. Rohan Cleave’s inspiring text and Coral Tulloch's evocative illustrations showcase this amazing insect, and give us hope and proof that we can make a difference."
Dr Jane Goodall, DBE, Founder – The Jane Goodall Institute & UN Messenger of Peace, www.janegoodall.org.au

"a good-news story of how a few devoted people can save a whole endangered species" - 5 stars
Merle Morcom, Good Reading, February 2016, pp. 66

"Phasmid is an interesting and informative text for budding entomologists."
Cath Oehlman, SquiggleBooks, 17/12/15

"A beautifully produced, beautifully illustrated book"
Nick Goldie, Cooma-Monaro Express

"If you are looking for an insect book for a child in the 5-9 age bracket this might be the book for you."
Entomological Society of Queensland News Bulletin, Vol 44(2), April 2016, pp 42


 Rohan Cleave is a zookeeper at Melbourne Zoo, where he has been involved in the Lord Howe Island Stick Insect recovery breeding program since 2003. He now manages the program at Melbourne Zoo.

Coral Tulloch is an award-winning illustrator who has worked on close to 60 fiction and non-fiction books for children, both in Australia and internationally.


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