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A Fun Look At “Giant Bugs”

We’ve all seen bugs of different sizes. Some are larger at one or two inches long, and others are so small that you can’t see them without a magnifying glass. Now, it’s time to have some fun and talk about some giant sized bugs!

How Big Is The Largest
Insect That Ever Lived?
One of the largest insects known to have ever existed is an extinct genus of griffinfly, known as the Meganeuropsis permiana. These had a wingspan of up to 28 inches and a body length of 11 inches long. Think about the size of this insect for a minute and you’ll realize that it could easily block the view of your 27 inch TV screen!

The fossil of this giant insect was found in Kansas, in the year of 1937. It is believed to be about 290 million years old.

Giant Moths!
The white witch moth has the largest wingspan of any insect living today, at 11 to 12 inches. This beautiful moth is a native of central and northern South America.


White Witch Moth

The Asian Atlas moth is about the same size but has an even greater wing area of 62 square inches. That’s larger than a typical DVD box, which is 44 square inches!

Giant Spiders!
The giant huntsman spider is considered to be the world’s largest spider by leg span, which can reach up to one foot. In 2001, it was first discovered in a cave in Laos.


The Goliath Birdeater

Most huntsman spiders are native to Asia but they are prevalent in Africa, Australia and South America. They have also be spotted in California, Florida and Texas. If you ever meet up with one, watch out because they move fast! The good news is that their venom is not believed to be deadly to humans.
The Goliath birdeater has a slightly smaller leg span of 11 inches but is the largest by mass and can weigh as much as 6.2 ounces! They are part of the tarantula family and can be found in northern South America. Their venom is relatively harmless to humans.

It may interest you to know that these spiders are part of local cuisine in northeastern South America where they are roasted in banana leaves. It is said that the flavor is “shrimplike”.

The Largest Butterfly
Queen Alexandra’s birdwing is the largest butterfly in the world with a wingspan of 9.8 inches. It can be found in the forest of Papua New Guinea.

The Heaviest Insects
The giant weta is the heaviest reported insect. It is a member of the cricket family and can be found in New Zealand. They have an overall length of 8 inches and can weigh as much as 2.5 ounces. That is heavier than a sparrow!

Even heavier yet is the larvae of the Goliath beetle, which weighs in at 4.1 ounces. An adult Goliath beetle can be measured at up to 4.3 inches long and is among the largest insects on earth. They can be found in many of Africa’s tropical forests.



The Longest Insect
In The World
A Phryganistria chinensis Zhao was recently declared as the world’s longest insect and measures at 24.5 inches long! These walking sticks really do look like a stick from a tree with six legs.
This specimen was found in southern China and was placed in a museum, where it laid six eggs. Even the smallest offspring measured at more than ten inches long!