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Duration:04:21
Uploaded:2017-10-12
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Jessi and Squeaks love looking for insects, but they’ve never seen anything like these before!

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SOURCES:

https://www.kidsdiscover.com/quick-reads/34551/
http://www.wildaboutnz.co.nz/2010/12/wetas/
http://www.doc.govt.nz/nature/native-animals/invertebrates/weta/
https://www.mnn.com/earth-matters/animals/blogs/5-facts-about-incredible-huge-atlas-moth
http://blog.hmns.org/2014/02/the-butterfly-center-beat-everything-you-ever-wanted-to-know-about-raising-atlas-moths/
What kind of animal has six legs, three body parts, and is found pretty much everywhere on Earth? [Squeaks squeaks excitedly] You’re right , Squeaks!

Insects! One of the coolest things about insects is that there are so many different kinds.

Think about some of the insects you already know, like butterflies, bees, and ants. They look really different from each other! They’re all different shapes, colors, and sizes.

Squeaks and I like to go outside and learn more about the insects we find by watching how they move around and what they eat. Sometimes we find some pretty big ones! But they’re not even close to the biggest insects in the world.

Like this one! This is a titan beetle. The name titan actually means big or gigantic, which makes sense, because they’re huge!

These beetles can get to be over sixteen centimeters long — longer than a dollar bill! Just like other beetles you might know, like ladybugs and fireflies, titan beetles have four wings. A beetle’s front wings are hard, and act as a kind of a case for the back wings, protecting them.

But it’s the other ways the titan beetle protects itself that makes it look so fierce. It has sharp spines on its body, and its jaws are super strong. A titan beetle can bite down hard enough with its jaws to snap a pencil in half! [Squeaks squeaks] Oh, there’s no reason to be scared of them though, Squeaks.

Even though they’re so strong, scientists who study titan beetles have found out that they aren’t aggressive. That means they don’t attack people, or any other animal, unless they’re scared. But there’s a lot we still don’t know about them!

Scientists aren’t sure what adult titan beetles eat, if they eat anything at all. We do know that titan beetles live in the warm, wet rainforest. And scientists think baby titan beetles live underground and eat old and rotting wood, but they aren’t sure what adult titan beetles eat — if they eat anything at all!

So, not only is the titan beetle big — it’s also a pretty big mystery! Another huge insect is the giant weta. The name that scientists use for the giant weta means monster-like grasshopper, and it definitely lives up to its name!

Giant wetas live in only one place in the world — in the island country of New Zealand. It has some relatives that might be around where you live, though. It’s related to the little crickets you can hear chirping outside in the evenings.

The giant weta grows to be about ten centimeters long — which is very long, but still shorter than the titan beetle. But the giant weta is a champion if we measure it in another way! That’s because the giant weta is one of the heaviest insects in the world.

Some giant wetas can weight about seventy grams — as much as about 25 pennies. Giant wetas are heavier than most mice, and even some small birds. They’re too heavy to fly, and most giant wetas don’t even jump.

That’s one heavy insect! So we’ve met a long insect...and a heavy insect. Next, let’s meet a wide insect: the Atlas moth.

It’s pretty easy to see why this insect is so big. [Squeaks squeaks] Yes, Squeaks, its wings! Atlas moths have some of the biggest wings of any insect on Earth. They can get to be over thirty centimeters wide!

That’s about the size of a ruler. Like other moths and butterflies, Atlas moths start out as a caterpillar. And these caterpillars are very hungry!

They eat a lot of leaves, and grow to be very fat. Then they spin a silk cocoon around themselves and change into a moth while they’re inside it. Once these moths come out of their cocoons, though, they don’t eat at all!

They only live for 5-7 days, and that whole time they get all their energy from the leaves they ate as caterpillars. The name that people from China use for this moth means “snake’s head”, and if you look at the tops of an Atlas moth’s wings, you can see a pattern that looks a lot like a snake’s head! Scientists think that pattern might scare away birds or other animals that might otherwise eat the moth, since it looks like a snake that could eat them!

Between the titan beetle, the giant weta, and the atlas moth, there are some pretty big insects out there! What’s the biggest insect you’ve ever seen? Do you have questions about insects, other animals, or anything at all?

Ask a grownup to help you leave a comment below or send us an email at kids@scishow.com. We’ll see you next time here at the Fort!