In the unofficial “eww, what is that weird bug” Olympics, several factors come into play–pure exoticism and number of limbs are of course important variables, but as always, size matters. A recently discovered as-yet-unnamed aquatic insect believed to belong to the mysterious Megaloptera order has been found in
Middle Earth China, and I think we can probably go ahead and give it the gold medal right now. I’m sure it has a hoard somewhere to store it in.
According to Scientific American, the new species was recently discovered in the mountains of Chengdu in the Sichuan region, and Chinese news outlets have wasted no time showing off bugzilla’s 21 cm. wingspan by posing specimens next to rulers, eggs, and even comparatively tiny human limbs. Little is known about the Megaloptera order the bugaboo is believed to belong to, although the facts we do have are satisfyingly weird.
Scientific American reports that the winged creatures spend the early parts of their lives immersed in water, only venturing onto land for a brief and hedonistic adulthood. Many members of the 300-species order develop enormous mandibles and mouths as they mature, although full-grown members of Megaloptera rarely eat in adulthood. Instead, the tusks of the males are frequently used to pin down the their mate while copulating. In fact, most of a Megaloptera’s adulthood is spent finding mates to make more Megaloptera. That is not a family reunion I would like to attend.
As much as I never want to run into one of these tusked horrors, I’ll concede that I’m sure they play a valuable and imperiled role in their ecosystem. After all, someone has to frighten away the Kaiju.