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This Is An Ex-Weta

This Is An Ex-Weta
Photo Information
Copyright: Steve Reekie (LordPotty) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1381 W: 144 N: 3872] (12503)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2009-06-10
Categories: Insects
Camera: Canon Powershot SX10IS
Exposure: f/8, 1 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2009-06-09 21:27
Viewed: 5098
Points: 20
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
This is the convoluted exoskeleton of a Weta that had climbed into a bin in my garage and died.
It has been on display on one of my windowsills for some time now,so I thought I might as well take it down and take a few photos of it,since it is a much more cooperative subject than its living relatives.
I chose to place it on a piece of driftwood riddled with bug holes,since this is the nivironment in which these creatures aere most commonly found.

This is definitely not the kind of posture you would ever see a weta in though. I have only photographed it like this so that we can get a good look at a few of the details of this fascinating insects body.
As you can see from the prominent ovipositor,this is a female.

Here is some information about wetas that I copied from Wikipedia:

Scientific classification

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Orthoptera
Suborder: Ensifera
Superfamily: Stenopelmatoidea, Rhaphidophoroidea
Family: Anostostomatidae, Rhaphidophoridae

Weta is the name applied to about 70 insect species endemic to the New Zealand archipelago. There are many similar species around the World but most are in the southern hemisphere. The name comes from the Māori language word 'wētā' and is used in both the singular and plural (like the word 'sheep'). The Māori name of the Giant Weta is 'wētā punga' (lumpy or jointed weta), a name that is sometimes rendered in English-language sources as 'god of ugly things'.

Many weta are large by insect standards and some species are among the largest and heaviest in the world. Their physical appearance is much like that of a katydid or long-horned grasshopper, even a cricket, but the hind legs are enlarged and usually very spiny. Many are wingless. By virtue of their ability to cope with variations in temperature, weta can be found in a variety of environments including alpine, forests, grasslands, caves, shrub lands and urban gardens. They are nocturnal and all New Zealand species are flightless. Different species have different diets. Most weta are predators or omnivores preying on other invertebrates, but one group of weta endemic to New Zealand (the tree and giant weta) eat mostly lichens, leaves, flowers, seed-heads and fruit.

Weta can bite with powerful mandibles. Tree weta bites are painful but not particularly common. Weta can inflict painful scratches (with the potential of infection) but their defence displays consist of looking large and spiky, and they will retreat if given a chance. Tree weta are known to arc their hind legs into the air in warning to foes and then striking downwards so that the spines could scratch the eyes of a predator. Pegs or ridges at the base of the abdomen are struck by a patch of fine pegs at the base (inner surface) of the legs and this action makes a distinctive sound. These actions are also used in defence of a gallery by competing males. The female weta looks like she has a stinger, but it is really an ovipositor which enables her to lay eggs inside rotting wood or soil. Some species of Hemiandrus have very short ovipositors, related perhaps to their burrowing into soil and laying their eggs in a special chamber at the end of the burrow.

New Zealand had no native land mammals apart from native bats for millions of years before humans arrived. Ecological niches that were filled by mammals in other parts of the world were filled by other creatures in New Zealand. It has been suggested that the weta’s place in the ecosystem is comparable to that held by mice and other rodents elsewhere in the world. For example, like their foreign mouse equivalents, they are hunted by an owl: in this case the Morepork, New Zealand’s only surviving native owl. Weta also pass seeds of some plant species through their digestive tracts unharmed, thus acting as seed dispersers. It is yet to be seen how decreases in weta populations are affecting native plant species that may rely on the weta's help.

The weta's lifestyle and habitat, where it may choose to remain concealed in suburban environments until unexpectedly confronted, combined with its notoriously unfriendly appearance, make it a frequent victim of irrational human aggression.

Miss_Piggy, skoksalan, boreocypriensis, albert, eqshannon has marked this note useful
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Critiques [Translate]

Hallo Steve
This is a what? Oh, I see it is an Ex-Wata!
Must say I like your interior decoration. It looks as if this “skeleton” was polished for the occasion. No all jokes aside. Altough this is not a living creature (well not this one) it is rather a great specimen. The details shown are clear and prominent. It is rather a large insect, just looking at the upper part of the body shown in your presentation. I think your choice of “pose” on a piece of driftwood is an excellent choice, as it reminds us of the environment they actually live in. Thanks for sharing this skeleton from your garden, which shows that not all skeletons from our past is bad. Best regards
ps. Thanks for the interesting reading material.

Ciao Steve, fantastic macro of strange creature, fine details, great colors and splendid sharpness, very well done, ciao Silvio

hello Steve
super insect
great details and good composition to see the insect good
greeting lou

Hi Steve,

nice macro shot from this insect with good pov and details
Fine colours.


A very interesting and frightening existence.
details are quite specific.
I think New Zealand or a specific type.

Hi Steve, a great capture with excellent details and fine composition of this endemic species to your country.
Great notes too.
TFS and cheers,

Hello Steve,
Very good macro with great details on your quiet insect !
Very detailed note too
Best regards

Sort of a yucky looker...the kind the Reese corporation used to put into cans for some odd reason...Good shot though. The complimenting colours really pick it up a notch. Browns can be fun to work with if done just right....as here.

Aparte de ser un buen documento, has creado una bonita obra de arte con la luz y los colores, siempre de mi interés en fotografías de naturaleza.

Saludos Steve: Josep Ignasi.

  • Great 
  • foozi Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 2791 W: 0 N: 6696] (25839)
  • [2009-06-13 21:25]

Hi Lord,
such a lovely placement of the skeleton on the strange textured trunk.
Very sharp and nice shining armour left behind.
Well presented in a very special composition.


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