Look who I spotted out in the garden a little while ago.
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.
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.
Weta are a threatened insect in New Zealand and I am happy to encourage them to live happily out in the garden.