Insects are the most abundant and diverse group of organisms on this earth, however, most of us are really only familiar with the ones that we see regularly. Some of the most common species of insects include:
- Ants, Bees and Wasps
- Butterflies and Moths
However, throughout the world, there are insects that are much grander in scale than the ones that sometimes occupy our homes or backyards.
Here are 16 of the largest insects around the world.
1. The giant burrowing cockroach, which are native to Australia, are the world’s heaviest species of cockroach. These litter bugs can weigh up to 35 grams, measure up to 3.1 inches in length, and can live for up to 10 years.
2. The Goliath beetle is among the largest insects on Earth when considering their size, bulk and weight. Found in tropical forests in Africa, these massive bugs can measure from 2.4 to 4.3 inches as adults and can weigh 80 to 100 grams in the larval stage.
3. The largest known fly in the world, Gauromydas heros, is part of the Mydidae species and has been reported to grow 7cm long.
4. Lethocerus, also known as giant water bugs, are capable of reaching lengths over 4.7 inches. If their size wasn’t intimidating enough, lethocerus species are predators that stab prey with a needle-like rostrum, which injects a venomous saliva.
5. Females of the species, Dorylus helvolus, are the largest of ants and can reach lengths of 2 inches.
6. Considered the largest living bee species, Megachile pluto, was believed to be extinct until the giant bee was rediscovered in 1981. Also known as Wallace’s giant bee, the females can reach lengths of 1.5 inches and have only been reported in Indonesia.
8. Giant wetas are the result of island gigantism and are found primarily in New Zealand. Not including the legs and antennae, these large species can grow up to 4 inches.
9. Found in southern China, Phryganistria chinensis holds the title for being the longest insect in the world, measuring 24 inches long.
10. Pteronarcys californica are commonly referred to as giant salmonflies and are the largest of the stonefly species. Many fishermen seek out these big bugs, which can attain lengths of 2 inches and wingspans of up to 3 inches, to use as bait.
12. Now considered extinct, the Saint Helena earwig was the largest of earwigs and could measure up to 3.3 inches in length.
13. The longest beetle species is the Hercules beetle, which can have a maximum length of 6.6 inches including the pronotal horn.
14. The crane fly is the longest true fly with a body length of 9.1 inches, a measurement that includes the legs being extended in front of and behind the body.
16. Atlas moths are considered the largest moths in the world due to their total wing surface area. Their wingspans can reach over 9.8 inches and are found in the tropical and subtropical forests of Southeast Asia.