Saturday, October 25, 2008


Chan's Megastick

Raphael G. Satter (Associated Press, Oct. 16, 2008), Scientists say stick bug is world's longest insect:
A stick bug from the island of Borneo measuring well over a foot in length has been identified by researchers as the world's longest insect, British scientists said Thursday.

The specimen was found by a local villager and handed to Malaysian amateur naturalist Datuk Chan Chew Lun in 1989, according to Philip Bragg, who formally identified the insect in this month's issue of peer-reviewed journal Zootaxa. The insect was named Phobaeticus chani, or "Chan's megastick," in Chan's honor.
The last sentence quoted gives the impression that the genus name Phobaeticus means megastick, or big stick, which it clearly does not.

K. Brunner von Wattenwyl and Jos. Redtenbacher, Die Insektenfamilie der Phasmiden, II (Leipzig: Wilhelm Engelmann, 1907), p. 183, who first named the genus, gave the etymology as Greek φοβητικός (phobētikos), which they translated into Latin as timendus = to be feared.

However, according to Liddell-Scott-Jones, Greek φοβητικός does not mean "to be feared"; it means the opposite, "fearful, timid".

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