August 12, 2017 05:19 GMT by dailymail.co.uk

The world's largest insect is as long as your arm

The stick insect is 64cm (25 inches) long and is bred by the Insect Museum of West China. The previous record-holder is its parent, which measured 62.4cm long (24.6 inches).

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.

Entomologist Zhao Li said his museum has bred the world's largest insect (pictured)

Entomologist Zhao Li said his museum has bred the world's largest insect (pictured)

The stick insect, measuring 64 centimetres long, is around the length of a human arm

The stick insect, measuring 64 centimetres long, is around the length of a human arm

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.

The artificially bred bug (pictured) has broken the record set by its parent at 62.4cm long

The artificially bred bug (pictured) has broken the record set by its parent at 62.4cm long

The species, known as the Chinese gigantic stick insect, was found in a forest in Guangxi

The species, known as the Chinese gigantic stick insect, was found in a forest in Guangxi

WHY IS THE SPECIES SPECIAL? 

The insects are native to China and live in the mountains between the altitudes of 1,000 to 1,400 metres (3,280-4,593 feet) in China's Guangxi Province.

The region is near the Tropic of Cancer, the circle marking the latitude 23.5 degrees north. 

Zhao Li, the entomologist who discovered the species, said the insects' habitat make them special. 

'Because in the past, massive insects were usually found in the countries near the equator,' Mr Zhao said. 

The expert said a female Chinese gigantic stick insect could lay 300 to 400 eggs, and they take around six months to hatch. 

It takes six to nine months for a larva to grow into an adult. 

The adult male insects mate with the female insects two months after they reach adulthood. They die right after the mating.

The female insects could live for another five months or so. 

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. 

'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.

A Chinese gigantic stick insect is displayed near other species and it's simply enormous

A Chinese gigantic stick insect is displayed near other species and it's simply enormous

The Insect Museum of West China has 14 live specimens and 15 dead specimens of the species

The Insect Museum of West China has 14 live specimens and 15 dead specimens of the species

'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.

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