What is a Weta?
A Drawing Of The Little Barrier Island Giant Weta
Giant Wetas a group of large insects, which can only be found in islands off the coast of New Zealand. There are 11 species of giant weta. They are heavy insects. The heaviest of the Giant Wetas is the Little Barrier Island Giant Weta, also called the Wetapunga. This creature also holds the record for the heaviest insect ever recorded. This record holder weighed in at more than 70g! This is heavier than a sparrow! Giant Wetas are are too heavy to jump. They are about 10cm (4 in) long – not including their long legs and antennae!
What Kind of Insect is the Wetapunga?
Giant Wetas belong to a family of crickets that also include South African King Crickets. Therefore the Wetapunga is not only the world’s biggest insect, but also the world’s biggest cricket.
Is the Little Barrier Island Giant Weta Dangerous?
Giant Wetas in general have a peaceful nature. When threatened, they raise their long spiky legs. The legs of the Little Barrier Island Giant Weta are longer than its body, and when lifted up would make the creature look very frightening indeed! However, this insect is in fact perfectly harmless.
Sadly, Giant Wetas have been almost wiped out on the islands near the mainland, since pests such as rats were introduced by humans – the Giant Weta is too slow-moving to escape from a hungry rat. Fortunately for the Wetapunga, Little Barrier Island is now a nature reserve, and special permission is needed before anyone is allowed to visit it. Here’s a map showing where this Weta lives :
Zoom out, and you’ll see how close this island is to Auckland, New Zealand.