Believe it or not, insects have not always been objects of fascination among scientists and/or academics. This may be an exaggeration, after all some of the greatest thinkers in history such as Aristotle and Pliny the Elder were fascinated by insects. But entomology, or the study of insects, is a relatively new scientific discipline. Of course, entomology is a branch of the much older discipline of zoology. However, people’s attitudes toward insects today is likely quite different from past attitudes. There has always been insects that are capable of spreading disease, but some modern trends, such as deforestation and climate change, are only making disease-spreading insects a more substantial threat to human populations. This is why insects are probably getting more attention today than they ever have before. Sadly, much of this attention is negative attention, but insects can still be interesting without depicting them as deadly animals. In fact, there are many interesting and basic facts concerning insects that most people do not know. Simply learning a little about insects and arachnids may bring you to realize that entomology may be your true calling.


You would think that the oldest insect fossil ever found would be more well known among the public, but most people probably assume that the dinosaurs came before even the most primitive of insects, which they definitely did not. The oldest insect fossil ever found dates back three hundred and ninety million years, long before dinosaurs ruled the earth. The fossil contained an insect called a “bristletail”, and it is similar in appearance to modern silverfish. This ancient fossil was found in Quebec, Canada. This fossilized species is extinct, but modern cockroaches started to appear three hundred million years ago. This makes cockroaches the oldest living insect group. The longest insect in the world can be found in Asia and it can reach a length of thirteen inches. These insects are called walking sticks and they belong to the Phasmida family. There is another species that can supposedly reach twenty two inches in length and it is known as the West Malaysian Pharnacia Serratipes. These large insects are mostly limited to the Asian continent, as only ten walking stick species reside in North America.


Was the largest insect or spider that you have ever seen located within a zoo or within the natural environment?


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