That tree twig may not be as it seems. A stick insect close to two feet long has been discovered in China, as reported by the state media Xinhua agency. Scientists have declared it to be the world's longest insect.
Discovery News reported that the Chinese bug measured 1.6 feet (over half a meter) and was discovered in southern China.
The record was previously held by a Malaysian stick insect that measured 22.3 inches (56.7 centimeters), discovered in 2008. The bug is now on display in the Natural History Museum in London.
Scientist Zhao Li had been looking for the bug for six years after getting a tip from locals about a "huge beast half a meter long, but as thick as a human index finger."
In the same report, Zhao told Xinhua that he was collecting insects on a mountain in Guangxi's Liuzhou City in August 2014 when "a dark shadow appeared in the distance," which looked like a branch or twig.
"As I went near, I was shocked to find the huge insect's legs were as long as its body," he said.
The scientist brought it back to the Insect Museum of West China in Chengdu, where it laid six legs. Zhao said the smallest of the hatchlings was measured at least 26 centimeters, almost twice the size of the insects found at the Natural History Museum.
In his honor, the Chinese bug has been named Phryganistria chinensis Zhao. A paper on the stick insect, one of the 3,000 discovered varieties, will be published soon.
Stick insects have one of the best natural camouflages, as they easily mimic and blend into the twigs that they live in. Also called walking sticks, they are mostly found in the tropics and subtropics. National Geographic said not much is known about them and the threats they face, but the popular practice of framing their bodies, similar to what is done to butterflies, can be a threat to their status.
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