Subject: biggest insect I’ve ever seen…
Geographic location of the bug: Sun Kosi river, SE Nepal
Time: 12:31 PM EDT
We found this huge insect on a beach on the Sun Kosi river, 7th October. It was about the size of a child’s hand, with very long antennae. After running around our feet for a while it buried itself in the sand.
Any idea what it is? Sorry the pictures aren’t great but it was dark and raining!
How you want your letter signed: Gareth
This is some species of Longhorned Orthopteran in the suborder Ensifera, but we are not certain of its classification beyond that generality. We suspect this is some species of ground Katydid, possibly a Shieldbacked Katydid. We know we have something similar looking in our archives, but we are unable to locate it. We will contact Katydid expert Piotr Naskrecki to see if he can provide a more specific identification.
Piotr Naskrecki Responds
What a beautiful creature. This is Schizodactylus, a member of the ancient family Schizodactylidae, with members in NE Asia and Southern Africa. Its hind wings are always curled like this, which probably helps them move backwards in their underground burrows.
That must be it – the face, the feet, and the curled-up shape at its back all look the same.
Thanks for your help tracking it down!