Heaviest insect in the world enjoys carrots
Giant weta is world's largest insect, found in New Zealand
The Weta species is a breed of insect found in New Zealand. By far the largest - making it the largest insect in the world is the giant weta. A female giant weta bearing eggs can weigh as much as 70 grams. The largest of the species can be found on Little Barrier Island, off the coast of New Zealand.
Giant weta are usually less social and more passive than regular weta. Their diet consists of plants, other small insects and fruit.
Giant weta are usually less social and more passive than regular weta. Their diet consists of plants, other small insects and fruit.Their enormous size is a result of island gigantism, which is a biological phenomenon leading to a larger size than their mainland relatives because of their isolation and lack of large predators.
The former ranger came across the cricket-like creature, which has a wing span of seven inches, after two days of searching on a tiny island.
This particular insect is only found on Little Barrier Island in New Zealand, although the other types of smaller weta are found throughout the country.
The giants of the species were wiped off the mainland by rats accidentally introduced by Europeans.
After the former ranger found the female weta, he fed it the carrot before putting it back where he found her.
"Three of us walked the trails of this small island for two nights scanning the vegetation for a giant weta," the 53-year-old Colorado native says.
"We spent many hours with no luck finding any at all, before we saw her up in a tree.
"The giant weta is the largest insect in the world, and this is the biggest one ever found, she weighs the equivalent to three mice.
"She enjoyed the carrot so much she seemed to ignore the fact she was resting on our hands and carried on munching away.
"She would have finished the carrot very quickly, but this is an extremely endangered species and we didn't want to risk indigestion.
"After she had chewed a little I took this picture and we put her right back where we found her.
"We bug lovers hear a lot of people who think insects are inferior in some way because of their size, so it was great to see such a big insect.
"This became all the more amazing when we realized that this was the largest insect recorded."
© 2011, Catholic Online. Distributed by NEWS CONSORTIUM.
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Keywords: Weta, insects, largest, New Zealand
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