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Who's the largest of them all?

24 September 2012 | Posted in Digital , Guest blogger , Insects , Wildlife

Author Patrick Roper

great silver water beetle / Udo Schmidt
great silver water beetle / Udo Schmidt

A good illustration of how the Web can be misleading is illustrated by an internet search for Britain's largest insect.

The general cyber-consensus is that it is the stag beetle (Lucanus cervus), but other websites give the gold medal to the great silver water beetle (Hydrophilus piceus); while some favour the great green bush cricket (Tettigonia viridissima) or the emperor dragonfly (Anax imperator) [though there is also a site that claims that the golden ringed (Cordulegaster boltonii) is Britain's largest dragonfly].

'Largest', of course, may mean 'heaviest', 'having the greatest length or wingspan' or, I expect, other definitions, but my money for the gold is on the stag beetle.

But perhaps there are other giants unknown to me lurking in the biodiversity undergrowth. Views are urgently sought on this difficult question.

stag beetle / Public Domain Photos
stag beetle / Public Domain Photos

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  • 26 Sep 2012 08:13:45

    I have had a similar thing with spiders. The Fen Raft Spider is often quoted as being the biggest spider in the UK but I have seen some Wasp Spiders and Araneus angulatus that have HUGE abdomens and appear far more impressive. The biggest spider I have seen by far though was a female Segestria florentina in the walls of the park at Chichester.

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