A mosquito bigger than a human hand was recently caught by an insect expert in China.
With a wingspan of 11.15 centimeters (4.4 inches), the specimen is about 10 times longer than an average mosquito.
The giant insect, believed to be the world’s largest ever captured, was found by Chinese entomologist Zhao Li, a senior biological and senior wild animal protection engineer, during a field inspection on Qingcheng Mountain in Sichuan Province, China, in August 2017.
In an interview with MailOnline, Zhao revealed that the insect is from the species called Holorusia Mikado, which are more commonly found in Japan and recognized as the world’s largest mosquito species.
Zhao knew the mosquito was unusually big when he first caught it, but he recently confirmed that it was, in fact, the largest mosquito in the world.
According to Zhao, a normal Holorusia Mikado has a wingspan of about 8 centimeters (3.1 inches), making his find about a third bigger than average.
While he classifies the species in the mosquito family, Zhao is aware that the insect is also known as a crane fly in the West, making it technically different from a mosquito.
However, Zhao insists that the Holorusia Mikado are in fact mosquitoes, citing a cultural gap as a possible cause of confusion. He pointed out that the entire insect family of Tipulidae, commonly referred to as “crane fly,” translates into “big mosquito” in Chinese. In biological terms, a mosquito is an insect that belongs to the Nematocera insect group, Zhao said.
He explained that there are seven groups of mosquito, which includes the Tipulidae (crane flies) and Chironomidae.
“There are a wide definition and a narrow definition of the mosquito family. Under the narrow definition, only a mosquito that bites is a mosquito,” Zhao was quoted as saying. “Different countries have different ways to call and define insects, but from a biological perspective, Holorusia Mikados are categorized as mosquitoes.”
Zhao noted that a Holorusia Mikado mosquito can live for about a week. The insect, which thankfully does not feed on human blood, survives mainly with the nutrition taken in during the larval stage.
The giant mosquito specimen will be displayed in an exhibition about strange insects next month at the Insect Museum of West China, where Zhao is also the curator.
Featured Image via Xinhua / Insect Museum of West China