The Mahoenui or giant weta has been around for 190 million years. This species was thought to have been wiped from the planet, but a remnant population was discovered surviving in a small hunk of King Country gorse back in 1962.
Around 100 Mahoenui were release into Maungatautari Ecological Island in April 2012 - the first time that the species had been introduced to a mainland mammal-free native forest. These insects can weigh up 25 grams and measure 65mm - about the size of your hand.
There are over 70 species of weta and counting. A new species has just been found on the west coast of the South Island.
Check out this edition of DOC's 'Meet the locals' to learn more about these ancient creatures.
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For more information on Maungatautari Ecological Island visit their website or their facebook page.
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