Whether you love insects or find them creepy, it’s easy to believe that man is the master over them. When you consider these giant bugs, though, your ideas about man’s strength might change.
- The largest insect ever to live was the extinct dragonfly-like insect belonging to the Protodonata This insect had an impressive wingspan of 2.5 feet and had huge mandibles (jaws). Now that’s something out of a horror show.
- Insects, like everything else, tend to grow larger in warm, moist climates with ample food supplies. Many huge insects live in rainforests, including the titan beetle, which lives in the Amazon, and can grow to be 6.5 inches long – longer than your whole hand. This massive beetle has jaws strong enough to break a pencil in half.
- On the island of New Zealand lives a cricket-like insect, the giant weta. At 2.5 ounces, it’s too heavy to fly, but scuttles on the ground. Its name comes from the Maori word wetapunga, or “God of the ugly things.”
- Stick insects look like dried sticks and leaves – a clever camouflage that keeps these insects safe. The largest ones live in Southeast Asia and can grow to 2 feet or more. They look scary, but they’re actually so docile that they’re kept as pets.
- The Goliath beetles of Africa can grow 4 inches long and weigh up to 3 ounces. They’re sometimes kept as pets and fed dog food or cat food.
- The award for largest moth goes to the Atlas moth of the Malay Archipelago. This moth’s wingspan can reach a foot or more. The Queen Alexandra birdwing is the largest butterfly. It also has a wingspan of a foot.
- In Thailand, you might enjoy eating a giant water bug, also known as a toe biter. These insects grow 4 inches long and are considered a delicacy in Asia.
- Docile: gentle
- Ample: a lot
- Wingspan: distance from the edge of one wing to the edge of another
Questions and Answers
Question: What is the smallest insect?
Answer: Fairyflies are so tiny that they’re hardly visible to the human eye.
Visit National Geographic to meet other massive insects.
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Declan, Tobin. " Facts about World’s Largest Insects ." Easy Science for Kids, Mar 2018. Web. 22 Mar 2018. < http://easyscienceforkids.com/large-insects/ >.
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