Thing you did not know about New Zealand Wildlife – Giant Weta

Deinacrida rugosa female

The giant weta is the heaviest insect in the world. It has been recorded to be heavier than a sparrow. There are 70 types of weta in New Zealand and can be found in caves and forests. The best time to see them is when walking in the forest at night.

The largest species of giant weta is the Little Barrier Island giant weta, also known as the wētāpunga, which means the “god of ugly things” in the native people of New Zealand, Maori language.

Little Barrier Island (Hauturu in Māori language), lies off the north-eastern coast of New Zealand’s North Island. Located 80 kilometres to the north of Auckland, the island is separated from the mainland to the west by Jellicoe Channel, and from the larger Great Barrier Island to the east by Cradock Channel. It is an extinct andesitic volcanic cone, roughly circular in shape, about 6 across, with an area of 28 km2.

The giant weta is usually less social and more passive than other weta species. Their genus name, Deinacrida, is Greek for “fierce grasshopper”. Its diet consists of plants (even carrot!), other small insects and fruit. Luckily for me I have never come across this giant creepy crawly!