Movies/books like Them!, Eight Legged Freaks, Starship Troopers (book and movie), Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings series (giant spiders), James and the Giant Peach (book and movie), Empire of the Ants, Invasion of the Bee Girls, the Wasp Woman, The Fly (1958 & 1986), AntMan (not the man in the suit, but there was a giant ant playing the drums) and many others have giant terrifying arthropods.
I know what you are saying, “Jotham, it’s holiday season, where’s the holiday Rabbit hole of Research.” Bah humbug. Lol. Okay, don’t throw any snowballs at me. You want a holiday tie in to giant insects, never fear the internet rabbit hole always delivers: Edmund Gwenn, best known for his role as Santa Claus in the classic Christmas film Miracle on 34th Street, plays Dr. Harold Medford in “Them!”—Now that we have that matter settled, how big can bugs get.
So, I like to think there are three categories of giant bugs in fiction: 1) Human to insect experiment gone wrong—i.e The Fly; 2) assisted evolution (chemical, nuclear fallout, etc accelerates growth): Them! (A-bomb testing in desert), Let The Ants Try, by Frederik Pohl (a great short story combining time travel and giant insects); and 3) giant insects from outer space—Starship Troopers (a great mix of military satire and giant insects, “The only good bug, is a dead bug…”
On a personal note, “Let the Ants Try,” originally published in the Winter 1949 issue of Planet Stories, was one of the first science fiction stories I ever read (and no, I’m not that old). It was in an anthology (i couldn’t remember the name) my dad was reading and he thought I’d like the story. I had forgotten about this until writing the newsletter. And the internet never fails: the anthology was edited by Robert Silverberg “Mutants: Eleven stories of science fiction” and yes I ordered it); back to the giant bugs—
Here are some of the largest Anthropods roaming the Earth today according to the internet
1. giant stick bugs can reach 2 feet long (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phasmatodea)
2. Giant weta, 4 inches long and weighing in at 2.5 ounces, the heaviest insect in the world (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Giant_wētā)
3. Goliath Beetle can grow over 4 inches long and 3.5 ounces (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goliathus)
4. Atlas Moths are bird sized insects. They have a wingspan of 1 foot in length. The cocoons of Atlas moths are so large they are used as purses in Taiwan. (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Attacus_atlas)
5. Tarantula Hawk are wasps that are so large they feed on tarantulas. They are 2 inches long with a stinger that is 9/32 inches and can deliver one of the most painful insect stings in the world. Luckily, they are docile unless disturbed. (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tarantula_hawk)
6. Giant Burrowing Cockroach, also called the rhinoceros cockroach can grow over 3 inches long. They can live up to 10 years and make good pets. (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Giant_burrowing_cockroach)
7. Titan beetle is one of the largest beetles in the world reaching lengths of 6.6 inches long. Know for their short, curved and sharp mandibles that can snap pencils in half and cut into human flesh. (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Titan_beetle)
8. Giant water bugs, also know as toe-biters and alligator ticks can reach lengths of 4.5 inches. They get their name because they are known for their powerful bite. In Thailand they are considered good eating, and black lights, which draws in the insects, are used to harvest them. (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Belostomatidae)
9. Queen Alexandra’s Birdwing is the largest butterfly in the world. It has a wingspan of over 1 foot. It was discovered in 1906 and the first specimens were collected using shotguns. (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Queen_Alexandra%27s_birdwing)
10. Actaeon Beetle, another giant beetle, can grow to lengths of >5 inches and 1.5 inches thick. It has thick armor and almost no natural predators. (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Actaeon_beetle)
11. Brazilian salmon pink bird eating tarantula have a leg span of 11 inches, and the largest spider in terms of leg span (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lasiodora_parahybana
12. Goliath bird eater, also in the tarantula family and is the largest spider by mass (6.2 ounces) and up to 5.1 inches in length. Bird-eating derives from an early copper engraving that shows it eating a hummingbird, but they rarely prey on birds. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goliath_birdeater)
13. Heterometrus swammerdami and the African Imperial Scorpion (both scorpions) have a length up to 11.5 and 9 inches respectively. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heterometrus_swammerdami) (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emperor_scorpion
14. Archispirostreptus gigas and Scaphistostreptus seychellarum (Millipedes) can reach sizes exceeding 11 inches. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Archispirostreptus_gigas) (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spirostreptus)
15. Horseshoe crabs can grow to 24 inches. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Horseshoe_crab)
16. Coconut Crab are the biggest Anthropod living on land. They can grow up to 3 feet and 9 pounds. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coconut_crab)
17. The Japanese spider crab is the biggest Anthropod. It has the advantage of living underwater where it’s weight is supported (more on that later). They have a leg span of 12.1 feet from claw to claw, a body size up to 16 inches and can weigh 42 pounds. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japanese_spider_crab)
Happy Saturday! Hope y’all are having a good day.
Before we get going, I want to take a few words and thank you all for trusting me with your time, reading my words, giving feedback and encouragement. Hopefully, I can continue to entertain you all. Have a Healthy, Safe and Happy holiday season.
It has been a long and crazy year, and the one thing I tried to do is maintain balance. For me that’s balancing my science research work life, writing life, and family life. Exhausting just writing it!
I was working hard to get you the next edition of the Rabbit Hole of Research, but it’s not quite finished. A number of things came up at work and family, and I didn’t want to send out crap. I would never send out anything that I didn’t feel was worth your time reading. I do put a lot of effort into the research and the writing of the Rabbit Hole of Research. I hope you have been enjoying then and the next edition should be ready next weekend, a nice holiday read.
If you missed an issue (or you are new to my newsletter) go check them out here. They are a fun take on the quirky science in Fiction books and movies.
I have been busy with other projects and marketing. Marketing is the thing no one talks about when you are writing your novel. But, building platforms, like this newsletter, Twitter, Instagram, etc, becomes very important as book launches approach. Also, marketing efforts take up more time than you think. The more you put in the more you get out. With that said I wanted to get this special edition newsletter off to you because I am working with some other authors to share our stories with our networks of readers. So please click on the links below and check out their stories.
Personally, I never imagined that my writing career would start to lift off as it has, and I’d be worrying about marketing or launch dates for novel’s and stories. 2021 will be a busy year with the two releases, January and February, and I will also be working on several new stories. I have been accepted into three anthologies:
1) Moonlight Anthology— A paranormal Romance novella— if you remember a few newsletters ago I was researching werewolves—“Finding Light on The Dark Side of The Moon”—released October 2021
2) Emerging Worlds Anthology—an after isolation novella—“The Cure”—released November 2021
3) Virus Apocalypse Anthology—a horror pandemic Anthology (yes a fictional story)—“Long Way Back Home”—released March 2022
Also, I have been working on a new novel, ‘The Cost of Us” that I will be querying to agents soon and a graphic novel script. And, as early reviews about my novel form Advance Readers come in, I have started to outline a part 2!
And you will be getting your monthly fix of Jotham via the Rabbit Hole of Research Newsletter. I have been contemplating also using YouTube, Twitch, TikTok or Podcasts to bring you more Rabbit Hole of Research. What do you think?
I know this year has been crazy, but are you looking forward to any holiday traditions? Email me and let me know!
This year we put 20 of our favorite holiday movies into a tin Star Wars can (5 movies each) and we have been randomly drawing them:
So far we have watched 5:
- Nightmare before Christmas
- Let it snow
- A Christmas Carol (1951)
- Daddy’s Home (questionable Holiday movie, there was a Christmas in April scene, but…)