A bug over half a meter (1.6 feet) long discovered in southern China has been declared the world's longest insect, state media said Thursday.
A stick insect measuring 62.4 centimeters (24.6 inches) found two years ago in the southern province of Guangxi has broken the record for length among the world's 807,625 known insects, the official Xinhua agency said, citing the Insect Museum of West China.
The previous record-holder was a Malaysian 56.7-centimeter-long (22.3 inches) stick insect discovered in 2008 and now on display in London's Natural History Museum.
Tipped off by locals about a huge beast half a meter long but as thick as a human index finger, scientist Zhao Li had been on the hunt for the bug for six years before he finally glimpsed and captured one.
"I was collecting insects on a 1,200-meter-tall (3,397-foot) mountain in Guangxi's Liuzhou City on the night of Aug. 16, 2014, when a dark shadow appeared in the distance, which looked like a tree twig," Zhao said, according to Xinhua.
"As I went near, I was shocked to find the huge insect's legs were as long as its body," he added.
The bug has been dubbed Phryganistria chinensis Zhao in his honour, and a paper about it will soon be published.
More than 3,000 varieties of stick insects have been discovered so far, Xinhua said.