If you're bugged by bugs, well, you might want to bug out now! But if the thought of an insect as long as your arm doesn't frighten you, then by all means, come right this way. We'd love for you to meet Phryganistria chinensis Zhao (say: fri-gah-NEES-tree-ah chi-NEHN-sis chow). He's a charming stick insect from the south Chinese province of Guangxi. He likes long, slow walks through the rainforest and hiding from predators by staying still. And while he doesn't like to brag, he was recently named the longest insect in the world.
A Chinese scientist named Zhao Li is the one who confirmed the existence of this mega-sized insect, measured at an incredible 62.4 centimetres (24.6 inches). He had heard tales from locals about an absolutely enormous bug, but it took him six years of searching to finally capture one. And even though he had heard of the insect's impressive size, he was still blown away by what he saw. “As I went near, I was shocked to find the huge insect’s legs were as long as its body,” Zhao said.
It's a very big family
When it comes to long bugs, you could say that for Phryganistria chinensis Zhao, it runs in the family. This stick insect takes over the record for longest insect that was previously held by another stick insect species from Malaysia, which was 56.7 centimetres (22.3 inches) long. (That bug is on display at London's Natural History Museum.) There are about 3,000 known species of stick insect, and around 900,000 known insect species in the world. But according to the Smithsonian, experts think that there are way more insect species out there yet to be discovered. Estimates suggest that there could be anywhere between 2 million and 30 million insect species in the world.
So when it comes to the title of "World's Longest Insect" we suggest that Phryganistria chinensis Zhao enjoys its moment of glory while it lasts. After all, who knows what other enormo-bug is waiting out there to take away its crown and...oh my gosh, what's that behind you?
Just kidding. Happy Monday, bug lovers!