The world’s longest insect has been discovered in the Borneo rainforests and handed to the Natural History Museum in London.
The insect, a stick-insect, measures 56.7cm long.
Not only is the stick-insect the world’s longest insect, it’s also a newly discovered species. The insect has been named Phobaeticus chani or “Chan’s Megastick” in honor of Datuk Chan Chew Lun, who donated the specimen to the Museum.
The dead insect was initially found 10 years ago by a collector who had no idea that it was the longest insect ever discovered, or that it was a new species. It wasn’t until an entomologist, Datuk Chan Chew Lun, saw it in the collection that the significance of the insect was realized.
Even without its legs, Chan’s Megastick has a body that measures 35.7cm. This is a world record for the longest insect body.
Previous Record Holders
The previous record holder for longest insect was another stick-insect called Phobaeticus serratipes. It could also be found in Malaysia, as well as parts of Indonesia.
The previous record for the longest insect body was 32.8cm long, held by the Phobaeticus kirbyi, also from Borneo.
‘We’ve known about both of the previous record holders for over a hundred years, so it is extraordinary that an even bigger species has only just been discovered,’ said Dr George Beccaloni, stick-insect expert at the Natural History Museum.
Size isn’t the only thing special about Chan’s Megastick. It’s eggs are thought to be unique in the insect world. According to the Museum, “Each egg capsule has wing-like extensions on either side like a miniature golden snitch, allowing them to drift in the wind when the female drops them, thereby helping the species to spread”.