stick insect
© Insect Museum of West China
The stick insect, measuring 64 centimetres long, is around the length of a human arm.
A Chinese museum claimed they have bred the world's largest insect.

The female stick insect measures 64 centimetres (25 inches) long, the average length of a young man's arm.

The artificially bred bug has broken the record set by its parent which is 62.4 centimetres (24.6 inches) long.

The insect species, native to China, was discovered in 2014 in southern part of the country.

It was found by Chinese entomologist Zhao Li as he carries out a field inspection at midnight in a forest in Guangxi Province.

Mr Zhao, 45, who is the curator of the Insect Museum of West China, named the species Phryganistria chinensis Zhao after himself.

Its Chinese name is translated as the Chinese gigantic stick insect.

Last May, one of the gigantic stick insects Mr Zhao found in 2014, was declared the world's longest insect, reported China's Xinhua News Agency.

The bug, measuring a whopping 62.4 centimetres in length, has been kept by the Insect Museum of West China where it laid six eggs.

The new record holder was hatched from one of the six eggs last December and is the longest of its kind Mr Zhao has ever caught or bred.

Its body length, measured from the head to the end of the abdomen, is 38.2 centimetres (15 inches); while its full length, measured from its foreleg to its hind leg, is 64 centimetres.

Mr Zhao said the eight-month-old insect is not only the longest, but also the largest insect in the world.
insects
© Insect Museum of West China
'According to international standard, the size of an insect can be calculated by its length or the span of its wings,' the entomologist explained.

He said the life span of the Chinese gigantic stick insect is usually one year and their length could reach six centimetres (2.4 inches) after they are hatched.

He also said that the gigantic stick insects have a sweet tooth.

'We discovered they like eating strawberry jam. We worry that the artificial additives might not be good for their health, so we only give it to them very occasionally.

'But we found out they would give up other food for it.'

Currently, there are 14 live specimens and 15 dead specimens of the species at the Insect Museum of West China in Chengdu.

Due to their enormous sizes, the live specimens are kept in cages more than one metre tall (3.3 feet), and each cage could only contain three of them.

Mr Zhao said he felt grateful to have come across the species during his research.

He said: 'The insects look so huge, it's my fortune to have met it. Through discovering the species, I feel the true magnificence of the nature of our country.

'Their existence reminds me that even many species have become extinct, there are still many wonderful insects on the planet.'

Before the discovery of the Chinese gigantic stick insects, the world's longest insect was a Malaysian 56.7-centimetre-long stick insect discovered in 2008 and now on display in London's Natural History Museum.