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World’s Largest Insect Hails from New Zealand

June 15th, 2015

World’s Largest Insect Hails from New Zealand

For some people this bug would lead to nightmares, for others it might make a perfectly good pet for that old hamster cage that’s been lying around.  The weta – from the language of the natives, or Maori people – is by far the heaviest of insects, weighing in at 70 grams, or 2 and ½ ounches, on average.  It’s about four inches long, and resembles an overfed grasshopper.

This semi-cuddly critter is, in fact, a distant relative of the cricket and the grasshopper, but has been isolated due to their environment.  They have no natural predators, and have managed to continue lilving in New Zealand despite an inability to fly or even hop.  Without any ground mammals to chase them, they lumber along relatively unscathed.

The weta is an omnivore who will eat insects but prefers fruit and leaves.

Surprisingly, this bug could theoretically grow even larger, except for the relatively lack of oxygen in our modern day environment.  Because they are large, and have huge jaws proportionate to their size, they are capable of inflicting a painful bite.  But these gentle creatures only do so when threatened.

None of the weta species are endangered, but 16 of 70 are considered at risk due to loss of their natural habitat.

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