Gentle giant

THREATENED SPECIES 

Growing to 70 millimetres long, the threatened Cook Strait Giant Weta (Deinacrida rugosa) is among the world’s largest insect, with a fearsome appearance. Their genus name Deinacrida means ‘terrible grasshopper’, yet they are docile vegetarians, surviving only on New Zealand offshore islands after mainland populations were decimated by introduced rats and mice.

Maud Island, Marlborough Sounds, New Zealand

Nikon D300, AF-S 18–55mm f3.5–5.6 GII ED lens reversed, 1/100, ~f18, ISO 200, –1/3 EV

Status: The Cook Straight Giant Weta is present on islands off New Zealand. A small managed population has been reintroduced on the mainland. It is listed as Vulnerable.

by Andrew Digby, Wellington, New Zealand