It can devour a carrot in a few minutes, but it is not a rabbit. Take a good look at this creature: it is a giant weta from Little Barrier Island, New Zealand and is the heaviest insect ever observed. It weighs 71 grams, as much as three mice, but in the aspect it is decidedly more creepy (unless you are big fans of insects, of course). Mark Moffett, the person who holds the orthopter, loves this animal so much (scientific name Deinacrida heteracantha) that he looked for it for two nights in the vegetation of the island, until he found it at the top of a tree.

The specimen in question is a female with a wingspan of 17.8 centimeters: it is the largest weta ever found, specifically, of a "wetapunga", as it is called in the Maori language. These insects are now very rare, and can only be found in the smaller islands of New Zealand. From the largest they disappeared following the accidental introduction of rats by Europeans. Where the mice were not introduced, the weta remained without many direct predators and therefore had the opportunity to grow out of proportion.

In order to be able to pick up the specimen, Moffett offered him a carrot. The insect would also have finished it shortly, but the explorer took it from him before it was too late: "It is an extremely threatened species" he explained "we didn't want it to do indigestion".

For the avoidance of doubt, the giant insect is not aggressive and does not bite unless it feels threatened. Furthermore, it is endemic to New Zealand and is an integral part of the local food chain. This is why the country is doing its utmost to save the 70 species of weta from extinction: they feed on the larvae of smaller insects, thus keeping their spread under control.
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