Archives for September 2016

WORLD’S HEAVIEST INSECT

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The Giant Weta is definitely an odd creature. Native to New Zealand, it can grow to the size of a mouse making it one of the largest insects alive.

Weighing as much as 35 grams, the weight of a sparrow, the Giant Weta is also the heaviest insect in the world!  Because of their size, Giant Wetas have been called New Zealand’s native rodent because they forage in a similar manner. In contrast, the smallest Nelson Alpine Weta weighs just 7 grams.

CURIOUS ANATOMY

My first encounter with a Giant Weta made my skin crawl. They look frightening and can cause painful scratches if they feel threatened but when I was told they are otherwise harmless and can’t fly or jump I looked closer and became fascinated with this iconic insect. It’s not only large, it’s also very odd. This insect’s ears are located on its knees, just below the front knee joints, and it breathes through its skeleton. Like the country’s national symbol, the flightless Kiwi, wetas are shy, preferring to avoid human contact so they are hard to find during daylight hours. Maybe that’s just as well for the feint-hearted who enjoy bush walks in the areas where the giant insect can be found. read more