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Enormous Bugs and Where to Avoid Them

Meet the giants of the insect world.

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A Deinacrida heteracantha, type of cricket found in New Zealand. (Photo: Dinobass/CC BY-SA 4.0)

In far north New Zealand, on the edge of the Pacific, lies Little Barrier Island. There, on 11 square miles of mountainous terrain, you might find the Godzillas of the cricket world: Deinacrida heteracantha, or Wetapunga. The giant weta can grow up to 4 inches long and the largest ever found weighed 2.5 ounces and happily snacked on a carrot.

Other bugs have their own goliath versions as well. The Lord Howe Island stick insect—also known as the ‘tree lobster’—can measure up to nearly 5inches in length. The wingspan of at Atlas Moth is between 10-12 inches. More terrifyingly, the 2-inch long Asian Giant Hornet has a quarter-inch stinger with which to dispense its venom.

For Bug Week, Atlas Obscura has rounded up some of the world’s largest insects. From the goliath beetle to the Amazonian giant centipede, they all have one thing in common: they are the behemoths of their species. 

 An Asian Giant Hornet (Vespa mandarinia), found in East Asia. (Photo: Justin/CC BY 2.0)

The elephant beetle (Megasoma elephas), most commonly found in Mexico, Central and South America. (Photo: Bonita R. Cheshier/shutterstock.com)

 A pair of Cecropia Moths (Hyalophora cecropia), found in North America. (Photo: Matt Jeppson/shutterstock.com)

Goliath Beetle on Thorn Blossom

Goliath beetles on a thorn blossom, found in Africa. (Photo: Ze’ev Barkan/CC BY 2.0)

Scolopendra gigantea, or Amazonian giant centepede, found in South America. (Photo: Tod Baker/CC BY-SA 2.0)

Luna Moth

A luna moth, mainly found in North America. (Photo: promiseminime/CC BY 2.0)

Eurycantha calcarata

A pair of Eurycantha calcarata, giant spiny stick insects, commonly found in Australiasia. (Photo: Paul Stainthorp/CC BY-SA 2.0)

An Atlas Moth or Attacus atlas, usually found in Southeast Asia. (Photo: rubengarciajrphotography/CC BY 2.0)

Lord Howe Island Stick Insect

 A Dryococelus australis, or Lord Howe Island stick insect, found on a small island off the coast of Australia. (Photo: Granitethighs/CC BY-SA 3.0