Largest killer hornet on record found in Yunnan Province likely a new subspecies

Source:Global Times Published: 2019/3/6 17:44:45


The killer hornet's huge nest Photo: IC

Entomologists in the border area between Pu'er, Southwest China's Yunnan Province and Myanmar have found what they say is the world's largest hornet, a likely subspecies of a killer hornet that has claimed numerous victims.

The newly discovered variety of Chinese Vespa mandarinia, has a body length of more than six centimeters and wingspan of close to 10 centimeters,  far exceeds the world's previously known  hornet which had a body length of five to six centimeters and wingspan of 7.6 centimeters, the Economic Daily reported Tuesday. 

A photo of a specimen of the  insect shows a mean-looking stinger protruding from its five-centimeter-long abdomen. 

The insect's nests can be so large a person can hardly wrap their arms around one.

The hornet mainly inhabits temperate and subtropical regions of eastern and southern Asia.

After analyzing hundreds of specimens, Zhao Li, from the Huaxi insect museum in Chengdu, Southwest China's Sichuan Province, said the hornet is likely a newly discovered subspecies of the known killer hornets. 

The hornet is able to achieve its size due to its ideal habitat, near the tropic of cancer where winter is very mild, giving it a longer growing season, said Zhao.

Entomologists plan to further analyze the hornet to determine if it is a new species or a subspecies to a sometimes-deadly cousin, Zhao told the newspaper.

Economic Daily


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