Suffer from arachnophobia? Then you should probably steer clear of South America's rainforests…
That’s because the continent is home to the world’s Largest spider – and indeed the Heaviest arachnid: the goliath bird-eating tarantula. The legs of this super-spider can span as much as 28 cm (11 in) across, about the same size as a dinner plate.
Pictured above is goliath bird-eater Rosi, the Heaviest spider specimen measured. Owned by Walter Baumgartner (Austria), she weighed in at 175 g (6.1 oz) in 2007. That’s seven times the weight of a mouse!
Despite the name of this species, it very rarely preys on birds – more typically on the menu are insects, frogs and small rodents.
Imagine a bug that measures as long as a human arm…
With its legs fully outstretched, Phryganistria chinensis – a type of stick insect – measures just that! The longest recorded specimen was 640 mm (25.1 in), as verified in August 2017.
It was bred at the Insect Museum of West China (IMWC) in Chengdu, Sichuan Province, China. This beat the previous record held by a fellow stick insect from Malaysia – Phobaeticus serratipes – by 85 mm (3.3 in)!
Most painful insect sting
Pretty much all of us have fallen victim to an ant or bee attack at some point, so know how much it smarts! Fortunately, the majority of us haven’t experienced the wrath of a bullet ant.
US entomologist Justin O’Schmidt, on the other hand, has not been so lucky.
In fact, he’s put the hundreds of stings he’s received over his career to good use, compiling his very own comparative scale: the Schmidt Insect Pain Index. At the very top of the chart is the bullet ant, the only insect assessed so far to receive a 4.0+ rating. Some have likened the pain of being stung to being shot – hence this insect’s common name.
You can read about some of Dr Schmidt’s hairier encounters with bugs in an exclusive interview that appears in Guinness World Records: Wild Things.
Longest journey by a butterfly
Unquestionably the marathon fliers among butterfly-kind are North America’s monarch butterflies. Every autumn, millions of these critters set out from their breeding grounds in Canada and USA and head south for some winter sun.
On average, these long-haul commuters cover 80–160 km (50–100 miles) in a single day. One individual that was tagged in Ontario, Canada, in 1988 then recaptured in Texas, USA, the following year is estimated to have clocked up at least 4,635 km (2,880 mi) on its epic journey – about the same as a flight between London and Vancouver.
This was based on straight-line distances between Canada and Mexico, then back up from Mexico to southern USA. In reality, it could have flown even farther.
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