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)