Weta Wednesday

Look who I spotted out in the garden a little while ago.

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It is a female tree Weta.

The weta is only found in New Zealand and is so old it has outlived the dinosaurs.

• Weta are large by insect standards. Some of the giant weta are enormous and are amongst the heaviest insects in the world

• The weta is sometimes called the dinosaur of the insect world

• The weta is more primitive than the tuatara. The weta has changed very little in the past 100 million years.

• Weta have their ears on their front knees and can feel the vibrations of noises around them.

• You can tell a male and female weta apart because females have a long ovipositor, which looks a bit like a stinger, which they use to lay eggs.
Source: http://www.kcc.org.nz/

While she was happy for me to take the first photos when I moved the hose to get a different angle she raised her back legs in the air to frighten me off. I quickly snapped these two photos and left her to her own devices.
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Weta are a threatened insect in New Zealand and I am happy to encourage them to live happily out in the garden.

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14 thoughts on “Weta Wednesday

  1. Mary Strong-Spaid

    At first I thought this was was a cross between a grasshopper and a large ant–with stripes like a bee. I have never seen (or heard of) a weta before.
    Putting those rather odd looking back legs up in the air like that….yes…that would have scared me away for sure. It looks like it could bite if bothered. I would let it keep the hose. 🙂

    Reply
    1. ordinarygood Post author

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting on my blog. Weta’s do resemble all the things you mention but they are from way back in the dinosaur era and unique to New Zealand. The Tree Weta can give you a nip but apart from defending themselves pretty aggressively they keep themselves pretty well hidden. As a threatened species we need to ensure that they survive to amaze many, many more people.

      Reply
  2. Gallivanta

    How exciting to get such a close look at a weta. The fact that the weta wears its ears on its knees gives me a new understanding of the expression “keep your ears to the ground”. I didn’t know that they predate the tuatara. Extraordinary.

    Reply
    1. ordinarygood Post author

      Yep Jo they are extraordinary insects. They don’t worry me too much but they freak some people out big time which sadly means lots of them get killed.
      Thankfully the conservationists are busy helping to improve numbers.

      Reply
  3. kiwiskan

    Love wetas. We used to see them in Wellington, but haven’t seen one here in Northland yet – although I still check my gumboots before I put them on in the winter…

    Reply
  4. Leanne

    I didn;t know they were threatened, wow I will try and be kinder when they drop on my head and carefully put them back up in the tree from now on instead of brushing them off and walking away. They do give one a fright when they land on you.
    Love Leanne

    Reply

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