It's a Hollywood-scale showing with a lethally-beautiful assassin, zombie-horror momma and a creepy character that can shoot a killing spray out its backside.

There's a backstory that stretches hundreds of millions of years, and the stars are all based on real life - bugs.

The fantastically popular Bug Lab exhibition, co-produced by Weta Workshop and Te Papa, is back and ready to educate and entertain.

The one-of-a-kind bug show has just opened at Auckland Zoo featuring giant model "hero" bugs in an immersive 1000 square metre cluster of domed chambers.


Visitors will be able to test their skills against superpowers of bugs - including brain surgery and survival teamwork - and may change their perspectives about "creepy-crawlies".

The exhibition will also feature a star comeback from New Zealand's own heavyweight bug, the wetapunga - which has outlived the dinosaurs but was under threat of extinction from predators introduced by man.

Bug Lab will give Auckland Zoo a stage to highlight its wetapunga breed-for-release recovery programme, helping bring Aotearoa's largest bug back from the brink.

The exhibition runs at Auckland Zoo from December 20 until late August, before travelling to the US.

Opening at Te Papa in December last year, the $5 million blockbuster attracted more than 137,000 visitors in four months at the national museum before wowing crowds at Melbourne Museum from June to October.

• Tickets to Bug Lab are on sale online at