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World’s Second Biggest Insect Discovered in Vietnam

Scientists have recently discovered a new species of giant stick bug in Vietnam. Phryganistria heusii yentuensis is over 32cm long or 54cm with its legs outstretched. Before you have a heart attack and clear out the nearest Citimart of all its bug spray, fret not. They’re harmless.

Their main activities consist of hanging out in trees looking like branches and having sex. And we’re not talking about your run of the mill romp in the sack.

According to Wired, a pair of this new species was witnessed in captivity ‘attached’ for 2 days. This isn’t out of the norm for stick insects, however. Indian stick insects are known to sometimes engage in the horizontal mambo for over a month. Stamina much?

Apparently the males hang around not only to maximize the fun, but to scare off other male competitors. Seemingly, this doesn’t always work out for the male as there are mentions of ménage a trois happening from time to time. Tough luck for the monogamous stick insects.

Aside from their sexual prowess, stick insects make up a part of the IndoBurma biodiversity hotspot, a region in Asia home to many animals, insects and plants found nowhere else on earth. The European Union, International Union for the Conservation of Nature and other organizations are helping to fund cooperative research to help discover and preserve new species like this stick insect. Further projects include a reference museum collection and the development of criteria to identify new species.

Looks like we’ll see more and more species being discovered in the coming years. We’re looking forward to the discovery of the chupacabra among other things. [Wired]

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