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John Bokma Weta from New Zealand
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Weta from New Zealand

Auckland tree weta | 8 comments

When I lived in New Zealand I had a weta as "pet" for some weeks. Based on the books I read, I guessed that it was a female Auckland tree weta (Hemideina thoracica). This weta is nocturnal, meaning it is awake during the night.

Weta examining my finger
Weta examining my finger

I kept the weta in a small plastic container with a piece of wood so it could hide during the day. The container also had a bottle cap with some fresh water. I fed the weta carrot.

Close-up of weta head and front leg
Close-up of weta head and front leg

This weta has a sensor for vibrations (sounds) in each front leg, clearly visible as a gray spot in the above picture. The picture below shows a close-up of the front leg with the name of each part.

Close-up of a weta front leg
Close-up of a weta front leg

The weta has powerful hind legs. When the animal is disturbed, it raises the hind legs and moves them towards the front. The spikes on the lower part of each leg can scratch you. Notice the nice pattern of dots on the upper part of the hind leg. I have no idea why these animals are called ugly.

Hind leg of the Auckland tree weta
Hind leg of the Auckland tree weta

The ovipositor, a tube the female uses to lay her eggs, is often mistaken for a stinger. A weta doesn't sting but can bite and scratch you.

Ovipositor of the weta
Ovipositor of the weta

Probably the most famous "weta" is the company (or companies) that played a major role in the making of "Lord of the Rings", filmed in New Zealand.

Weta related

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