Lots of people really don’t like creepy, crawly things but they can be pretty groovy. Look at them up close and you'll discover where movie directors get some of their ideas for weird creatures!

Wetapunga: God of Ugly Things

The Little Barrier Island giant weta or Wetapunga is the biggest weta of them all and weighs up to 71 grams. That’s three times heavier than a mouse! The name Wetapunga means god of ugly things but hasn’t stopped rats and other predators almost wiping it out! It is now only found on Little Barrier Island.

Quick Facts

• 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.

Types of Weta

There are five different types of weta – tree weta, cave weta, giant weta, tusked weta and ground weta. All together there are over 100 different species of weta.

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