Massive giant weta insect as big as your hand

Giantwetaaaaa This is a giant weta, an insect found on New Zealand's Little Barrier Island. But this isn't just any giant weta. It's reportedly the largest ever found, weighing in at 71 grams.
"She enjoyed the carrot so much she seemed to ignore the fact she was resting on our hands and carried on munching away," (said Mark Moffet, a former US park ranger who found it in a tree.)

"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."

"World's biggest insect is so huge it eats carrots"


Landcare Research entomologist Dr Thomas Buckley says, based on Moffett's photos, the weta's size looks about average for its species.

"The species itself is the heaviest in the world but whether that individual is the heaviest you couldn't really say.

"From the picture it's a female, but it just looks like an average sized one of that species."


  1. The story includes a nice lesson on evolution: “Their size is an example 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.”

  2. DahhhaHAAHAAHHHHAAAHhhhhh.

    I was going to come over here and snark on the post title, but that thing really IS massive and giant.

  3. Maybe this exposure will finally make “WETA” an acceptable word in Words With Friends. That shit frustrates me weekly!

  4. Wetas are usually only big enough to occupy most of an average man’s palm (or roughly the size of a fat hamster). Finding this girl is like finding a wolf as big as a bison. I hope she’s prolific; the weta species could use some more robust members among them.

    For sheer personality, though, I still like the slightly smaller kabutomushi, or Japanese rhinoceros beetle.

  5. Few corrections.  This Giant Weta is not the “largest ever found”, and does not weigh 71 grams.  NZ experts say this appears to be an average sized Giant Weta and that the largest one recorded was 71 grams (not THIS one). The guy is an ex American park ranger, not a New Zealand DOC ranger – he’s a tourist in this context. 

    Love that photo though…

    1. I updated the post with more info but can you please point me to the source that says the one above is not 71 grams?

  6. The Giant weta certainly are HUGE, but common garden weta can be found throughout NZ. The name weta comes from the Maori word “wetapunga” which means God of ugly things.

  7. I don’t understand why anyone finds this more alarming than a chipmunk, an animal of comparable size and bite power.

      1. well…….chipmunks can sing.

        So can crickets, and they never pander to their audience by trying to sing hip hop.

        1. the chitinous spikes on its legs? the glossy beaded eyes? the superficial resemblance of its exoskeleton to manufactured armor? the extended legs for possibly propelling itself through the air at a distance many times its own length?

  8. Not a fan of giant bugs of any sort. Someone will need to rock me to sleep tonight. Cannot unsee…

    1. I was thinking the exact same thing.  Leave a large, hungry weta behind you as you walk away, with it up in a tree so it has a height advantage as it fixes its angry eyes on the exposed skin of the back of your neck? Nooo-nooo-nooo.

  9. Wait a second: can’t anyone tell by the pixels this is fake?!?  And isn’t “Weta” Peter Jackson’s NZ special effects shop?  Hmph.  I’m not buying it.  This is surely some viral campaign for an upcoming giant insect invasion pic!  And don’t go trying to tell me the SPFX shop was named after the bug

      1. There were dozens of Wetas in King Kong – and they were huge.  It was kind of an inside joke for New Zealanders. 

  10. Wow! Just… wow. I’ve got a photo I took last year of a Great Green Cricket, a native British insect sat on my hand, which was probably around two inches long, and I thought that was pretty big.. One of these Weta would have probably eaten it.

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