World's largest insect measuring 24 inches discovered in China
The insect, nearly 10 cm more in length than the one previously thought to be the longest, is exhibited at the Insect Museum of West China in the southwestern city of Chengdu and was discovered in Guangxi region, close to the Chinese border with Vietnam and Laos.
The record was previously held by a 56.7-cm stick insect of a similar species, unearthed in Malaysia in 2008 and on view at the Natural History Museum in London.
The Chinese stick insect was discovered by Zhao Li, a researcher at the Chengdu museum, who had been on the lookout for stick insects in Guangxi for over 15 years, after locals told him in 1998 that the area had over half-a-meter long specimens, with bodies as thick as the human finger.
"I was collecting insects on a 1,200-meter-tall mountain in Guangxi's Liuzhou City on the night of Aug. 16, 2014, when a dark shadow appeared in the distance which looked like a tree twig," the expert said, as cited by state-run news agency Xinhua.
"As I went near, I was shocked to find the huge insect's legs were as long as its body," he added.
The insect has been named Phryganistria chinensis Zhao in honor of the discoverer, who is writing a thesis on the new species.
There are over 800,000 insect species, of which some 3,000 belong to different types of stick insects. ■
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