Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Walk softly…

I have blogged about some sizable insects in the past, but this is even more extreme! In the image above, entomologist Joachim Bresseel of the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences holds a female walking stick of the species Phryganistria heusii yentuensis. He and his team have just determined that the Vietnamese insect is the second largest on earth, measuring 12.6" (32 cm) – 21" (54 cm) with its legs stretched out. Designating them as a new species required examining museum specimens up to 100 years old in Russia, China, the U.S., and elsewhere in the world. Bresseel and colleagues are now working in cooperation with Vietnamese biologists to help build a reference museum collection and develop keys to identifying local insects. Gwen Pearson writes in Wired, "It’s expected the team will double the described species of stick insects from the region over the next few years."

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