What is the world's largest insect?
Insects are generally small creatures, creepy-crawlies that wander around relatively unnoticed. Some, however, are so big that they'll frighten the living daylights out of you! Welcome to the terrifying world of the largest insects on our planet!
Insects are basically synonymous with petite sizes, but that's not necessarily the case.
In fact, you'd be surprised – and potentially terrified – at what giants mother nature has produced over millennia of evolution.
So what are the largest insects out there?
TAG24 takes a deep dive into a creepy-crawly animal record!
We reveal what the world's largest insect is, take a look at some of the biggest bugs out there, and give some of you a jump scare in the process!
What is the world's largest insect?
There are two contenders for the largest insect in the world: the phryganistria is the longest insect in the world, and the goliath beetle is the heaviest insect in the world. Considering just how huge both of these creatures are, we don't think that it's fair to make a final claim on what the biggest may be.
The phryganistria, which we will now refer to as "the giant stick insect", comes from deep in the rainforests of Malaysia. They are so huge that many wild giant stick insects will be found with missing legs, as they're easily trapped and stuck. Interestingly, the giant stick insect was discovered as recently as 1875.
In contrast, the goliath beetle is insanely bulky and heavy, as well as physically large. Primarily living in Africa's tropical rainforests, these herbivores are relatively unknown to science. Their most significant feature is their enormous weight and size, which inspired their rather biblical name.
How big is the largest insect in the world?
The giant stick insect is known to regularly reach up to 10–12 inches, but a specimen discovered on the island of Borneo and featured in the Natural History Museum in London, reached a whopping 14 inches in body length alone, 22.3 inches with its legs stretched out. Guinness World Records have deemed this particular insect as having the longest insect body in the world.
Meanwhile, the goliath beetle often weighs between 2.5 and 3.5 ounces. This insane weight has led Guinness World Records to declare the goliath beetle as being the heaviest insect in the world. It's up to you now, though, do you think that the giant stick insect or the goliath beetle is the world's largest insect?
Other large insect species
There are many huge insects out there in the wild. Of course, none are going to measure the might of a blue whale or the like, but some of these creatures are shockingly massive. We won't include spiders in this list, though, as they are not insects, they are arachnids.
Here are some other huge insect species:
- Hercules beetle
- Midas fly
- Stag beetle
- Monarch butterfly
- Asian giant hornet
Beware: A few of these giant creatures, the Asian giant hornet for example, are quite dangerous. Steer of clear of them in the wild, or get a professional to clear them out if you find them on your property.
Largest ever flying insect
The meganeura, also known as the griffinfly, was the biggest insect in the Earth's history.
They often used to feature wingspans that could reach an insane 28 inches, making the griffinfly one of the biggest flying insects ever to stalk this planet. These terrifying beasts lived between 315 and 250 million years ago, and the only thing we have left to study are prehistoric fossils.
The largest insect in the world is truly terrifying!
Most stick insects are pretty innocuous, but the giant stick insect is an entirely different beast. So is the goliath beetle! Indeed, the latter is probably more terrifying than the former, due to those weird pincer things at the front and the pure scale of its bulkiness.
Having a goliath beetle on your hand would be truly terrifying, and incredibly disgusting. The phryganistria is a different matter, less scary and more bizarre. Honestly, how are these creatures even real?
Cover photo: IMAGO / Agefotostock (left) & IMAGO / Belga (right) & TAG24 Edit