A giant mosquito with a size of 4.38 inches has been discovered by entomologists in the southwestern Chinese province of Sichuan, the official Xinhua news agency reported on Monday.
According to the director of the Insect Museum of Western China, Zhao Li, the insect was found last summer during an expedition to Mount Qingcheng, a tourist spot located in that same province.
The mosquito belongs to the species “holorusia mikado”, discovered in 1876 by the British entomologist John Obadiah Westwood during a research in Japan, although its specimens usually do not exceed eight centimeters in length between the ends of its wings.
Although they are called “giant mosquitoes”, scientifically they make up a different species from the best-known mosquitoes, which differ, among other things, in their eating habits.
“They look horrendous, but they do not feed on blood, adults tend to live a few days and generally eat nectar,” said Zhao, who also explained that only a few hundred of the tens of thousands of insects on the planet have vampiric habits.
— China Xinhua News (@XHNews) April 24, 2018
In central China this insect, known as the “crane fly”, usually inhabits mountainous areas above 1,200 meters, although it can also be found in the plains of Sichuan Province.
The same area is also the habitat of the world’s longest insect, a 62.4 cm long stick insect that was found in 2014 and can also be admired at the West China Insect Museum.
That insect was found by Zhao himself, with more than 20 years of experience in the search for large insect species in western China.