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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

A Two Foot Insect!

Chan's Megastick: At 22-inches long, Chan's Megastick is about an arm's length. via Daily Mail

If earwigs, centipedes or spiders give you the creepy crawlies, quit while you're ahead. Otherwise, meet "Chan's megastick" (Phobaeticus chani). Recently named the world's longest living insect, the thin, bamboo-looking stick insect—best known for its camouflaging abilities to deter predators—was discovered in Southeast Asia's island of Borneo. Measuring approximately 22 inches long with its legs, or 14 inches just counting its body, megastick swiped away the title from its previous record holder of more than a century, Phobaeticus kirbyi—also a stick insect from Borneo—by almost an inch. Further, scientists in England have confirmed it is a new species of stick insect, adding to the 3,000 known species of the bug mainly found in the tropics and subtropics.

Although British scientists formally announced the new record holder last week, the dead, female stick insect was found in Borneo's rainforests by a local collector around 30 years ago. It was not until a decade later in 1989 that Malaysian naturalist, Datuk Chan Chew Lun, whom the insect is named after, saw the villager's collection and noticed the insect, also full of eggs, as a new species. Megastick was later passed on to scientists in England, where it now has a new home in the Natural History Museum in London.

Via PhysOrg