The world's largest 'giant killer' hornet has been found

The world's largest 'giant killer' hornet has been found

Out of wasps, bees, and hornets, most of us are likely to choose wasps as our least favourite. Noticeable by their yellow and black rings and generally aggressive behaviour, they can cause even the bravest of us to flinch, especially knowing that they can get away with stinging multiple times without dying, unlike bees.

Hornets, on the other hand, are a specific type of wasp, with a few key differences. They nest in the same way, and can also sting repeatedly - but they're less aggressive than wasps if unprovoked. However, their venom makes their stings far more painful than that of your typical wasp.

But this doesn't exactly make it any less creepy when you come across this new species, referred to as a 'giant killer hornet' by some.

Scientists in China have found this new species, which is thought to be the largest in the world. Appropriately named 'the Godzilla hornet', it was discovered in the city of Pu-er, in the province of Yunnan in southern China.

Initial reports have suggested it could be a new subspecies of a deadly killer hornet, as part of the Vvespa mandarinia family, and is much bigger than other similar species.

The Asian giant hornet and its sub-species the Japanese giant hornet have an average body length of 4.5 centimetres and 4 centimeteres respectively, but this new hornet is even bigger. It is said to have a body length of six centimetres and a wingspan close to ten centimetres. But don't worry too much, as it is local to subtropical regions of eastern and southern Asia.

Zhao Li, from the Huaxi insect museum in Chengdu, has analysed hundreds of specimens in order to figure out exactly what species it is. He has now claimed that it is likely a subspecies of killer hornet, but entomologists are still carrying out tests to find out if it is an entirely new species or not.

This isn't the only large creepy crawly to be found by experts this year. In February, a team of scientists re-discovered the world's largest bee. Wallace's bee was found on the Indonesian island North Moluccas, after years of eluding experts. The bee, which is the size of a human thumb, was first discovered in 1858, but hadn't been seen since 1981.

After over thirty years of searching, a living female specimen was found on the island, studied and photographed.

Clay Bolt, the Natural history photographer who was the first to capture the creature in 38 years, said, according to The Independent:

"It was absolutely breathtaking to see this 'flying bulldog' of an insect that we weren't sure existed anymore, to have real proof right there in front of us in the wild.

"To actually see how beautiful and big the species is in life, to hear the sound of its giant wings thrumming as it flew past my head, was just incredible."