Fleeting Beauty: The Tiny and the Giant

Squiddy found this tiny nymph yesterday; we thought it was a wētā, but it’s likely to have been a katydid. I coaxed it onto some dandelions and was able to make just this one photo before it jumped away. Unfortunately, its hind legs, which were easily at least three times the length of its body, were not within my depth of focus. I should have made a few shots while it was in the glass, and was actually quite lucky to get this one. That dandelion head, by the way, is 4.5 cm (1.77 inches) in diameter. Since I already posted this before a more likely ID, I’ll keep the wētā information. They are indigenous to New Zealand and are basically giant, flightless cricket relatives, belonging to the families Anastomatidae and Rhaphidophoridae, and are among the heaviest insects in the world. An adult giant wētā can be as large as a gerbil. My only personal experience with an adult was on the island of Tiritiri Matangi in the Hauraki Gulf near Auckland in December 2018. This one was about three inches (7.6 cm) long. It was snuggled into the foliage so I couldn’t get a very clear view, but you should get a pretty good idea. If you do a Google search for “weta insect,” lots more information is available for this magnificent insect.

About krikitarts

Welcome to Krikit Arts! I'm a veterinarian; photographer; finger-style guitarist, composer, instructor, and singer/songwriter; fisherman; and fly-tyer. Please enjoy--and please respect my full rights to all photos on this Website!
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10 Responses to Fleeting Beauty: The Tiny and the Giant

  1. shoreacres says:

    That’s a very wee wētā, indeed. Now, I’m thinking about that gerbil-sized wētā. It’s a somehow disturbing thought!

    • krikitarts says:

      They are impressive in the extreme. They are normally quite harmless, though, and very few actually bite. If you should have the chance to pick one up, though, you’d want to handle it very, very gently.

  2. Maybe you can combine these two insects and make a wētydid.
    We went to Tiritiri Matangi in 2015. I was fortunate to get a good picture of a tūī there.

    • krikitarts says:

      That really is a magnificent ecological success story. We only had a couple of hours there, but saw a number of the more-seldom-seen birds, including saddlebacks. Hope to go back again soon!

  3. I prefer the tinier variety posing nicely on the flower😊

  4. This post is great! Keep up the good work!

  5. Wow, a three inch Orthopteran is huge. Looks like a Sumo katydid, it does. I’ve had my share of one shot opportunities and not many of them are as attractive as your tiny one.

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