World's longest insect, Phryganistria chinensis Zhao
Phryganistria chinensis Zhao, the world’s longest insect discovered in South China. The specimen measures 62.4 centimeters long and it surpasses the previous record holder Phoebaeticus chani ( which measures 56.7 centimeters). via Xinhua

A new species of stick insect measuring over half a meter has been declared the world’s longest insect. According to the statement released by Xinhua News Agency, the specimen was discovered by Zhao Li of the Insect Museum of West China, during a field inspection on a mountain near Liuzhou City in southeastern China in 2014.

The newly discovered 62.4-centimeter long specimen surpasses the previous record holder Phoebaeticus chani (or Chan’s megastick), another stick insect discovered in Malaysia, by nearly 6 centimeters.

Zhao Li said he had been on the hunt for the insect for six years, after he had been tipped off by farmers about a huge beast half a meter long but as thick as a human index finger.

“I was collecting insects on a 1,200-meter-tall mountain in Guangxi’s Liuzhou City on the night of Aug. 16, 2014, when a dark shadow appeared in the distance, which looked like a tree twig,” said Zhao. “As I went near, I was shocked to find the huge insect’s legs were as long as its body.”

The insect has been named Phryganistria chinensis Zhao.

Hat Tip: Xinhua, The Verge