12 largest insects in the world

Review of the best according to the editorial board. On the selection criteria. This material is subjective, does not constitute advertising and does not serve as a purchase guide. Before buying, you need to consult with a specialist.

Insects are the most numerous class of animals on our planet, more than a million of their species have been described by scientists, and it is not known how many more new insects will be discovered in the near future. These arthropod invertebrates inhabit all continents of the world, including Antarctica, they live both on land and in water, they can be seen both in the wild and very close to people. Millions of years ago, insects were much larger, for example the dragonfly Meganeura (Meganeura monyi) had a wingspan of 65 centimeters. But even in our time there are species that can surprise (and perhaps scare someone) with their impressive size. We invite you to find out about the twelve largest insects in the world.

Ranking of the largest insects in the world

Nomination a place Name of product The size
Ranking of the largest insects in the world 12 Road wasp 5.5 CM.
11 Giant burrowing cockroach 8 CM.
10 Elephant beetle 12 CM.
9 Goliath beetle 12 CM.
8 Chinese mantis 15 CM.
7 Giant water bugs 15 CM.
6 Long-legged mosquitoes 22 CM.
5 Lumberjack Titanium 22 CM.
4 Peacock eye atlas 25 CM.
3 Queen Alexandra's Birdwing 27 CM.
2 Chan's Mega Stick 56 CM.
1 Giant Veta 8.5 cm.

Road wasp

Rating: 3.9

Road wasp

Insects from the family of Hymenoptera, their habitat spreads almost throughout the entire globe, but the largest number is observed along tropical zones, especially in Central Asia and the far Caucasus. In total, there are almost five thousand species of road wasps, the largest of which is Hemipepsis heros. The body length of individuals is 5.5 centimeters, and the wingspan reaches 9.5 centimeters. Wasps prefer to lead a solitary life, feed on various nectars. They are known for hunting large spiders. Possessing a strong sting with a paralyzing poison, the road wasp skillfully neutralizes the arthropod predator with a couple of injections. After that, she finds a suitable mink (or digs it out on her own), drags the prey there and lays an egg on an immobile prey, which after a couple of days will serve as nutritious food for the hatched larvae.

Giant burrowing cockroach

Rating: 4.0

Giant burrowing cockroach

Monotypic insect species, found mainly in the northern part of the Australian state of Queensland. They got their name from the habit of digging long underground tunnels at a depth of 15 centimeters to a meter. Thanks to such holes, connected by numerous passages, they can move freely without fear of predators. Burrowing cockroaches settle in large colonies of several hundred individuals, usually in eucalyptus forests. They feed on decaying leaves and plants, thereby playing an important role in the ecosystem. Insects are the largest cockroaches in nature, reaching 8 centimeters long and weighing about 35 grams. They also have an unusually high life expectancy for this class of animals, up to 10 years.

Elephant beetle

Rating: 4.1

Elephant beetle

This species belongs to the lamellar family, it is found in Central and South America, mainly in the rainforest. Large individuals have a body length of up to 12 centimeters, and they weigh about 35 grams. The color ranges from light to dark brown shades. The males are distinguished by a long horn slightly more than five millimeters thick; they use it during a fight with rival males for the right to mate with a female. The insect spends most of its life cycle, which lasts several years, in the form of a larva, and only four to five weeks lives in the form of a beetle. They feed on tree sap. In the case of severe cold snaps, beetles are able to regulate the body temperature, like warm-blooded creatures. At the end of the last century, elephant beetles became the object of close interest from the American military, who studied the possibility of using them as weapons, experimenting with controlling the behavior of these insects using implanted electrodes and microcontrollers.

Goliath beetle

Rating: 4.2

Goliath beetle

A beetle from the Bronze family lives in the central and southern part of the African continent. There are five varieties of goliaths in total, differing in color and size. Most often, there are black individuals with a white pattern on the wing flaps. The body length of the beetle is about 12 centimeters, they weigh almost 50 grams. Males have a horn-like process on the head, while females have a shield-like head, which is due to the need to dig holes in the ground to lay eggs. Goliath beetles are most active in the daytime, being at the same time on tree trunks, or in flight, they descend to the ground only in search of food. The imago's diet includes tree sap and overripe fruits, the larvae feed on rotting wood. Cannibalism is also common among the larvae, large individuals eat smaller ones.

Chinese mantis

Rating: 4.3

Chinese mantis

This type of insect belongs to the family of true praying mantises, lives in the countries of East and Southeast Asia, on the islands of Micronesia, introduced in some states of the United States. The Chinese bowing mantis reaches 15 centimeters in length. The body color ranges from green to brown. Possesses the unique ability to turn his head 360 degrees. A full view around him makes him an effective predator and allows you to notice the approach of danger in time. The praying mantis is active at night, it hunts not only other insects, but also caterpillars, amphibians, reptiles and even small hummingbirds. In the wild, Chinese praying mantises live up to six months, although males rarely live to this age due to the extremely unusual inter-sex relations of the species. In half of the cases, immediately after a long mating process, the female eats the male alive in order to replenish the protein supply, which she will soon need to produce offspring.

Giant water bugs

Rating: 4.4

Giant water bugs

The insect belongs to the Hemiptera family. It lives in the tropics of South and Southeast Asia, also found in the US state of Florida. Water bugs prefer freshwater lakes, ponds, and similar bodies of water. The species is distinguished by its considerable size – adults can be up to 15 centimeters long. These predatory bugs feed on insects, snails, frogs and even small fish. They catch prey with their strong, long forepaws equipped with tenacious hooks. This is followed by the injection of paralyzing poison and digestive enzymes into the victim, after which the bug, like a spider, simply sucks dissolved nutrients from its body. Water bugs differ in a curious way of caring for offspring – the female lays fertilized eggs on the back of the male, where he carries them for a couple of weeks.

Long-legged mosquitoes

Rating: 4.5

Long-legged mosquitoes

Long-legged mosquitoes, also called caramors, have existed on Earth long before humanity. The earliest fossils of this type found in amber are about 130 million years old. Now there are more than 4000 types of caramors that inhabit all continents. Most often they can be seen in areas with high levels of humidity and nearby bodies of water. The largest species of centipedes, holorusia brobdignagius, can grow up to 22 centimeters long (including limbs). Despite their frightening appearance, these insects from the Diptera family are devoid of a sharp sting and are completely harmless. Adults feed on nectar or water, while the larvae eat mostly decaying plants. The lifespan of an adult is only 10-15 days.

Lumberjack Titanium

Rating: 4.6

Lumberjack Titanium

The largest beetle in the world grows up to 22 centimeters long. It is found in the rainforests of the Amazon, from Peru, Colombia and Suriname to Bolivia and Central Brazil. An insect from the barbel family has a wide, flat body, brownish or brown in color. Adult individuals of the titanium woodcutter live about five weeks, it is curious that during this period of their cycle they do not feed at all, but use only those fat reserves that they managed to accumulate at the larval stage. During the mating period, fierce battles for the female often occur among males, while they often mutilate each other. The beetle's formidable weapon is its sharp mandibles, with which it can easily bite a pencil.

Peacock eye atlas

Rating: 4.7

Peacock eye atlas

The peacock eye gets its name from the mythical ancient Greek hero Atlas (also known as Atlas), who holds the entire firmament on his shoulders. The butterfly lives in the subtropical and tropical regions of Southeast Asia: from China to the islands of Java and Borneo. The wingspan of the peacock eye reaches 25 centimeters, and their surface area can be up to 400 square centimeters. The wings are usually rich in color, and the patterns include shades of chestnut, burgundy and yellow. Males are distinguished by wider front wings and the presence of long and bushy antennae. The peacock-eye caterpillars feed on the leaves of the trees, while the butterflies do not eat anything, consuming the substances accumulated in the previous stage. All the time of their short existence, about ten days, is devoted to mating and producing offspring. During the mating season, females are not as active as males, they mostly stay in one place, but they emit pheromones, which males, thanks to their sensitive antennae, are able to catch at a distance of two and a half kilometers.

Queen Alexandra's Birdwing

Rating: 4.8

Queen Alexandra's Birdwing

The butterfly belongs to the genus Ornithoptera, which belongs to the sailfish family. It owes its name to the financier and collector Lord Walter Rothschild, who lived in the 20th century, who decided to name it after the wife of the British king Edward VII. It is an endemic species of Papua New Guinea, it is found in the tropical forests exclusively in the southeastern part of the island, near the Popondetta mountains. In individuals, sexual dimorphism is expressed – females are much larger than males and reach a wingspan of 27 centimeters. The butterfly's body length is about 8 centimeters and its weight is only 12 grams. It is the largest diurnal butterfly on the planet. Although the males of Queen Alexandra's birdwing are inferior to females in size, they significantly surpass them in brightness and variety of colors. The life span of an adult insect usually does not exceed three months.

Chan's Mega Stick

Rating: 4.9

Chan's Mega Stick

This amazing insect was first discovered in the forests on the island of Kalimantan (Borneo). Like all stick insects or ghosts, he is the consummate master of disguise. Representatives of the species are not only very similar to tree branches, but are also able to remain motionless for a long time, being indistinguishable in the middle of the surrounding vegetation, even at a distance of several tens of centimeters. The size of the mega-stick fully justifies its loud name, since the length of individual individuals reaches 56 centimeters, taking into account the limbs. Too thin and clumsy in appearance, the stick insect nevertheless deftly moves on any wood surface thanks to its thorny paws. Insect females have an interesting feature – in the absence of males nearby, they can reproduce by parthenogenesis, passing on an exact copy of their set of chromosomes to the offspring laid in eggs.

Giant Veta

Rating: 5.0

Giant Veta

Giant Veta is an endemic species of crickets from the Anostostomatidae family that lives in New Zealand. The size of the insects is impressive: the length of their wingless body is about 8.5 centimeters, and the mass can exceed 70 grams, thus they are almost twice as heavy as a sparrow. Crickets perfectly adapt to different environments, they are found both in forests and in fields and even caves. Their diet is also very extensive, it includes leaves, fruits, and smaller insects. With the arrival of the breeding season, the males of the giant veta become extremely active, they are able to travel up to 15 kilometers in just a night in search of a potential mate for mating.


Attention! This rating is subjective and does not constitute an advertisement and does not serve as a purchase guide. Before buying, you need to consult with a specialist.

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