The Heavyweight champion of the insect world
What is worst than coming face to face with a creepy crawly? Coming face to face with a giant creepy crawly!
New Zealand’s Giant Weta is the heaviest insect on the planet; weighing more than 71 g, this arthropod is heavier than a swallow. There are eleven species of giant weta, which are significantly larger than other weta or any other insect. The largest species of giant weta is the Little Barrier Island giant weta also known by the Maori name ‘wetapunga’, which means ‘god of ugly things’. These heavyweights have a body length of up to 10 cm, excluding their lengthy legs and antennae. They often live under rocks and bush floor debris and prefer a vegetarian diet.
At approximately two years of age the female will lay anything between a hundred and three hundred eggs. Unfortunately, the parents of the ‘little giants’ will die before the eggs hatch three to five months later. However spine-chilling they seem, they are in actual fact gentle giants and need to be respected and protected. Weta are at risk from being eaten by rats, trampling by stock and killed by forest fires.