ST. JACOB, Ill. — A man in Madison County says he saw a 7-feet-tall “stick insect”.
The anonymous man said that he was driving home on the highway when the purported creature showed up last Wednesday at 3:00 a.m..
“An object appeared in my headlights on the right side, crossing the highway, looking like a giant walking stick with four legs,” he said on MUFON.
“Its head turned as it ran and looked at me just before going out of lighted view,” he wrote on a provided sketch of the reported sighting.
The eyewitness claims the insect was about 7 feet tall. Its length, he added, “was probably about the same”.
“It was red wood and moved in approximately one second or less across the whole lighted area of my headlights.”
He said it had four legs and appeared to be slightly “elevated off the ground”.
“When it turned to me,” he said, “it had no face.
The biggest insect in the world is the Thysania agrippina, also known as the White Witch Moth, with a wingspan of 11.8 inches.
The group of Megaloptera include dobsonflies and fishflies and their behavior is poorly known. They can live in clean water such as streams and rivers, but can also withstand muddy and even polluted waters.
Giant insects are of interest to cryptozoologists as some believe that members of the supposedly extinct genus Meganeura, from the Carboniferous period, could still be alive.
Gauthier Chapelle and Lloyd S. Peck (May 1999) wrote an article on this subject, “Polar gigantism dictated by oxygen availability”, Nature 399 (6732): 114–115. doi:10.1038/20099. They theorized that gigantism during the Carboniferous period could have been possible due to the atmospheric oxygen being as high as 35%. According to this theory, giant insects could not survive today’s decreased oxygen levels.
The Meganeura exhibited a wingspan of 25.6 inches and is the largest known flying insect species.
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