The longest insect in the world
Friday 13 August 2004
London Zoo is proud to show off Phoebe, a Malaysian giant stick insect; the longest insect in the world, measuring in at a whopping 45cm long
Phoebe is a pale brown, long limbed female who uses her hook-like feet to cling to her keeper or anything else around. Back in April, we celebrated the hatch of this record-breaking species which amazingly, emerged from a tiny egg, just 4mm in diameter.
Sixty eggs were laid in Rotterdam Zoo in October 2003 and were sent to London Zoo to start a breeding group earlier this year. Like all insects, the Malaysian giant stick insect, Phoebaeticus serratipes moults throughout its life. It can take up to six months for babies to reach their full adult length. Phoebe is the first of these babies to reach adult size here at London Zoo.
The longest adult female specimen ever recorded, who was spotted in the forests of Malaysia, measured an incredible 55cm from tip to toe, with a body of 28cm - nearly a foot!
Malaysian giant stick insect
This giant stick insect is just one of the many amazing species in B.U.G.S, London Zoo's biodiversity and conservation centre. There are well over 100 species of invertebrates kept here, including other record breakers and some of the rarest animals on the planet.
The natural habitat of the Malaysian giant stick insect is the forests of South East Asia, where they feed on tropical foliage, but in captivity they happily eat a mixture of bramble and oak leaves. Although not currently endangered, the high rate of deforestation is a concern for the future populations of these insects and of course many other animals in the wild.