Top 10 Biggest Insects in the World
|Top 10 Biggest Insects in the World|
The list of top 10 biggest insects in the world
#1. Mydas Flies
#2. Tarantula Hawks
#3. Tropidacris Grasshoppers
#5. Giant Weta
#7. Goliath Beetles
#8. Stick Insects
#9. Titan Beetle
#10. Hercules Beetle
What Are The Biggest Insects in the World?
#10. Largest Insects – Hercules Beetle
|Photo: The Japan Times|
Named after the famous hero of Greek mythology, this enormous species of rhinoceros beetle hails from the rainforests of Central America, South America, and the Caribbean islands. The most prominent characteristic is the huge horn that extends from the thorax (as well as a second horn that emerges from the head) of the male beetle. The female completely lacks this unique accouterment.
As a result, the male Hercules beetle can measure up to 7 inches long (depending on its nutritional intake and some environmental conditions), but the horn makes up nearly half of the entire body length and so it’s difficult to make direct comparisons to other types of insects. The beetle’s larval stage, which lasts about two years and features three different metamorphosis stages, can grow nearly 5 inches in length as well.
#9. Largest Insects – Titan Beetle
The Amazon rainforest is home to many large beetles, but none of them compare in length to the titan beetle (Titanus giganteus). This massive beetle can grow up to 6.6 inches long, making it the largest beetle in the world in terms of sheer body size. While scientists have never found any specimens of titan beetle larvae, they have discovered boreholes in dead trees that they believe were created by these larvae. Based on the size of these boreholes, it is estimated that the larvae of titan beetles can grow to be 2 inches wide and up to 1 foot long.
The titan beetle also has mandibles that can easily snap a pencil in half and can even rip into human flesh. Believe it or not, this beetle is actually a draw for adventurous tourists, and many ecotourism agencies in South America advertise pictures of them in their pamphlets.
#8. Largest Insects – Stick Insects
|Phryganistria Chinensis. Photo: Reddit|
The stick insects (also known by many other names, including walking sticks, leaf insects, and ghost insects) are a vast order of insects that consists of than 3,000 species, almost all of them characterized by a spindly, flat, tube-like appearance. They have evolved the ability to hide from predators by blending in with the very branches and leaves they resemble. Some even wield lichen or mossy outgrowth to make the camouflage appear extra convincing.
Most species of stick insects measure at least a foot long. The longest of all stick insects (and insects in general) is a species called Phryganistria Chinensis. First discovered in China in 2016, it can reach 25 inches long, or about the size of that ancient dragonfly. The next two largest stick insect species measure about 22 inches. Despite their impressive length, however, the stick insect’s flat, tube-shaped body means that they weigh only a fraction of what you’d expect.
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#7. Largest Insects – Goliath Beetles
Based on weight and bulk, members of the beetle genus Goliathus, known commonly as Goliath beetles, are strong contenders for the title of world's largest insect. These enormous beetles are found throughout Africa, and males of this genus can measure over 4 inches long and weigh over 2 ounces. However, Goliath beetles are even more massive in their larval stage, weighing as much as 3.5 ounces, making their larvae the heaviest insects on earth. While a 2.5-ounce giant wētā specimen still holds the record for heaviest adult insect, some entomologists believe that certain adult Goliath beetles in the wild could weigh over 2.5 ounces and break the record — but they have yet to be caught and weighed by scientists.
#6. Largest Insects – Moths
|Attacus Caesar. Photo: Breeding Butterflies|
Moths belong on this list on account of their huge wingspan. While there are many impressive species, the atlas moth, which hails from the tropical forests and shrublands of Asia, is probably the largest of its kind. It features a wingspan of up to 11 inches and a wing surface of about 25 square inches. Only the white witch, Attacus Caesar, and Hercules moths come close to eclipsing it, although, given their different wing shapes, it’s difficult to make a direct comparison between them. Curiously, the body of the atlas moth is disproportionately small in comparison to the orange and white wings, which almost look like brilliant, swirling jewels.
#5. Largest Insects – Giant Weta
|Photo: Wikimedia Commons|
Members of the genus Deinacrida, known as giant wētās, are enormous insects endemic to the island of New Zealand that are closely related to crickets. Giant wētās usually grow up to 4 inches long and weigh up to 1.2 ounces, roughly the weight of a sparrow. These massive bugs are among the heaviest insects on earth. One female specimen of the species Little Barrier Island giant wētā (Deinacrida heteracantha) was found to weigh 2.5 ounces, the heaviest adult insect ever observed.
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#4. Largest Insects – Butterflies
|Queen Alexandra. Photo: Pinterest|
There are many examples of massive butterflies, including the Jamaican swallowtail, Miranada birdwing, and Rippon’s birdwing, but Queen Alexandra’s birdwing stands above the rest. Named in honor of Queen Alexandra, who was at the time the wife of King Edward VII of Britain.
This inhabitant of New Guinea is the largest species of butterfly in the world. It exhibits a strong degree of sexual dimorphism, meaning that the sexes have radically different appearances. The females are the larger of the two sexes with a body size of up to 3 inches and a wingspan of 11 inches; they also have brown wings with white markings arranged into two rows near the tips. The males have thinner and more angular wings, measuring about 6 to 8 inches from tip to tip, with black central bands and iridescent bluish-green outer areas.
#3. Largest Insects – Tropidacris Grasshoppers
|Photo: Tropical Natural History|
Tropidacris is a genus of grasshoppers that contains three different species. This genus doesn’t have a standard name, so instead, it merely goes by the scientific name of Tropidacris. Found scattered across Central and South America, these grasshoppers are among the largest of their kind with a body measuring up to 5 inches.
While the nymphs sometimes exhibit black and yellow warning colorations possibly to dissuade predators, the adults are more green, yellow, and brown to help provide camouflage against the backdrop of the surrounding vegetation. Their brilliant multi-colored wings, which measure about 9 inches from tip to tip, kind of resemble leaves. Otherwise, they look like oversized grasshoppers.
#2. Largest Insects – Tarantula Hawks
The giant scoliid wasp has a wingspan of 11.6 cm (4.57 in). It is a parasitoid of the Atlas beetle, paralyzing the beetle with its sting and lays its egg on it. The wasp then buries the beetle underground for the larvae to hatch with the hatched larvae feeding on the still-living host.
Similar to the giant scoliid wasp, the tarantula hawk hunts tarantulas. They use their sting to paralyze their prey before dragging it to a brood nest as living food; a single egg is laid on the prey, hatching to a larva which eats the still-living prey. They are up to 5 cm (2 in) long.
#1. Largest Insects – Mydas Flies
The mydas is a large family of flies that contains nearly 500 separate species. Most of these are endemic to arid or semiarid regions all over the world. As their main means of defense, some species have evolved the ability to mimic the more dangerous stinging wasps and bees. This is intended to trick predators into avoiding them. The largest species of all the mydas, which simply goes by the scientific name of Gauromydas heros, measures up to 2.8 inches long with a wingspan of 3.9 inches, making it the largest fly on the entire planet.
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