New Zealand Giant Weta - Contender for Worlds Biggest Bug Status

New Zealand Giant Weta - Contender for Worlds Biggest Bug Status

Mark Moffett, a former park ranger and nature lover recently revealed how he spent two days tracking down this giant Weta on Little Barrier Island - an uninhabited nature reserve north in the Hauraki Gulf. Mark originally from Colorado, discovered the weta up a tree after walked the trails of the small island for two nights. "This became all the more amazing when I realized that this was the largest insect recorded."

In fact this is the world’s heaviest insect in terms of weight, which at 71g is three times that of a mouse and heavier than a sparrow. A female Giant Weta ( Deinacrida heteracantha) filled with eggs can reach up to in excess of 70g and the largest of the species are found on Little Barrier Island. There are 70 types of Weta in New Zealand, but unfortunately the giants were wiped off the mainland New Zealand by rats, introduced by early European settlers. Their diet consists of plants, other small insects and fruit and despite their looks they are relatively non aggressive. Their size is said to be an example of island gigantism, a biological phenomenon that leads to a larger size than their mainland relatives due to isolation and lack of large predators. Giant weta can grow up to 10cm long with a leg span of 20cm.

BUT HOLD UP - WHATS THIS? This is a Goliath Beetle and is also a contender for the largest insect in the world. They are part of the Scarab Beetle family and can be found in the dence tropical forests in Africa where they feed on tree sap and fruit. These Goliathus as they are known, can grow to 110 millimetres – the debate rages on...


I found this from the "Book of Insect Records" – University of Florida

The largest living insect species, by virtue of having the greatest visible body mass and probably weight, are the giant scarabs, Goliathus goliatus, Goliathus regius, Megasoma elephas, Megasoma actaeon, and the immense cerambycid, Titanus giganteus. No clear winner can be declared on the basis of objective data, the candidates being nearly equal in this regard, but a visual comparison of all of them, side by side and scaled to maximum known size, may convince one otherwise. The heaviest weight reliably reported for any insect is 71 grams for the protected giant weta, Deinacrida heteracantha, of New Zealand. 


Brent Narbey
Brent Narbey
: 1 Nov 2011 (Last updated: 12 Mar 2019)

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