Weta Story

As I mentioned in IAVOM I was startled to find a Weta floating spreadeagled on the freezing water in the empty vase I had just filled. I have no idea how he got there. I think I would have seen him if he was there in the vase when I added the water, and they don’t fly, and he wouldn’t have climbed up the vase to fall in, so…he must have fallen from the ceiling, or the beam above the sink. In any case I scooped him out as fast as I could and he seemed unharmed.

weta with vase and scissors

Male Wetas can be defensive, but this one really just wanted to get out of the limelight, so I covered him with some Kale leaves which were nearby.

weta with kale

He really wanted to be covered, with just his long antenna sticking out, and maybe his eyes.

tree weta on kale leaf

The Weta is endemic to New Zealand, and there are about 70 varieties. I think this one is a male Auckland Tree Weta (Hemideina thoracica)

male weta insect and kale

The kale was Ok but not quite what he wanted. I brought him some wood and bark.

Hemideina thoracica male tree weta

Finally I found him a place in the top of the woodshed where he will blend in, and can easily get out to eat leaves from the overhanging trees. The oval shapes on his front legs are ‘ears’.

Male tree weta

Wetas can be preyed on by cats, stoats, and rats. We have no cats but there are rats, and stoats, although I’m trying to lessen their numbers. Kris P noticed that he is very similar to a ‘Jerusalem Cricket’ who turns out to be an American relative, as they are both in the Stenopelmatoidea superfamily.




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