NEW ZEALAND – Meet The World’s Biggest Insect!
A Kiwi nature-lover spent two days tracking down a giant insect on a remote New Zealand island – and got it to eat a carrot out of his hand.
Mark Moffett’s find is the world’s biggest insect in terms of weight, which at 25 ounces is heavier than a sparrow and six times that of a mouse.
The 53-year-old former park ranger discovered the giant weta up a tree and his real life Bug’s Bunny has now been declared the largest ever found.
This particular species of the cricket-like creature — also known as a wetapunga to the Maori, and as Deinacrida heteracantha to scientists — is found only in protected areas such as New Zealand’s Little Barrier Island\
Mark (“Doctor Bugs”) Moffett, an entomologist and explorer at the Smithsonian Institution, found the specimen after two nights of searching.
“The giant weta is the largest insect in the world, and this is the biggest one ever found,” Britain’s Daily Mail quoted Moffett as saying. “She weighs the equivalent to three mice. … She enjoyed the carrot so much she seemed to ignore the fact she was resting on our hands and carried on munching away. She would have finished the carrot very quickly, but this is an extremely endangered species, and we didn’t want to risk indigestion.”
The carrot-crunching cricket went viral today, and now questions are starting to emerge about the “biggest bug” label. The information accompanying the picture lists the insect’s weight at 25 ounces and its length at 7 inches.
Landcare Research entomologist Thomas Buckley examined the evidence. “From the picture, it’s a female, but it just looks like an average-sized one of that species,” Buckley said
Even the biggest giant weta has its rivals in the insect world. By some accounts, goliath beetles can reach a weight of 3.5 ounces during their larval stage and achieve a wingspan of nearly 10 inches. The White Witch moth, meanwhile, has a wingspan of up to 12 inches (31 centimeters), which is wider than the wings of a sparrow.
But if you confine yourself strictly to adult insects, and define “big” in terms of weight, Moffett appears to have a good case. He told me in an email that the giant weta he found counts as the “largest one weighed, as far as I have seen recorded anywhere.”
The wingspan of this insect is 17 inches.