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Thanks Pam for NZ's Scariest Insect.

Thanks Pam for NZ's Scariest Insect.
Photo Information
Copyright: Janice Dunn (Janice) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3277 W: 148 N: 6163] (18832)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2006-01-07
Categories: Insects
Camera: Canon EOS 300D, Canon EF-S 60mm f/2.8 Macro
Exposure: f/16, 1/25 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version, Workshop
Theme(s): Insects around the world, RARE or SIGNIFICANT contributions to TN 1 [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2006-01-07 0:59
Viewed: 49128
Points: 72
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
The Weta
Whangaparaoa Scarimongous

Before you critique this I make no excuses for cropping it off and not showing the whole of this insect. I had to work quickly, this fellow was wild and angry and ready to move and no doubt planning to jump on me any second, so I was taking these photos very quickly.

This creature is one of the scariest creatures in New Zealand. It is a WETA, a tree weta!! Lots of people really donít like creepy, crawly things, and I am one of them. And so is Pam, but when this Weta was crawling in her house last night she ever-so-bravely placed it in a jar for me, and dropped it off here for me to photograph. Thank you, thank you PAM / Coasties!! If you want it back, sorry it has gone. . .

Look at it closely and you can understand where some people get some of their ideas for weird creatures! The big black head is a feature of Auckland tree wetas. Wellington tree wetas have brown heads.

The weta is a member of the order Orthoptera and is a relative of grasshoppers, locusts, katydids, and crickets. Orthoptera means 'straight-winged', however many Orthopterans do not have wings at all, the weta being one such insect.

There are two families of weta in New Zealand. One family Rhapidophoridae contains the Cave Weta. The other family Stenopelmatidae contains the Giant, Tusked, Tree and Ground Weta,.

The weta is only found in New Zealand and is sooooo old, it has outlived the dinosaurs!
Weta are large by insect standards but some of the giant weta are ENORMOUS and are amongst the heaviest insects in the world. This one is one of the smallest, a Tree Weta.
The weta is sometimes known as the dinosaur of the insect world
The weta is more primitive than the tuatara
The weta has changed very little in the past many, many, many YEARS!

The weta sheds its exoskeleton when moulting, which can make it vulnerable to predators
At 18 months the male weta selects a female and they spend six months together sharing the male's territory
At around two years old the female will lay 100-300 eggs. The parents will die before the weta eggs hatch 3-5 months later
The female Weta can be easily identified by her long ovipositor (it looks like a sting but it isn't - it is for laying eggs)

Notes from: The Kiwi Conservation Club, a Forest and Bird project for children, NZ.

As Michal/ Cedryk has commented - you can see the weta's ears - they are the holes on his front legs! Weird, isn't it? Thanks Michal

The Workshop is a very unclear photo of the Weta, showing nearly the complete insect.

Actiereactie, dew77, petrudamsa, Demetrio, Dave, Libor, Robbrown, red45, marhowie, liquidsunshine, Keithor, Robespierre, Luc, hummingbird24, gerhardt, scottevers7, TAZ, PDP, cedryk, roconnell, livios, peter_stoeckl, pitai, efigesta, cicindela, tanmoyroy_80 has marked this note useful
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Add Critique [Critiquing Guidelines] 
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ThreadThread Starter Messages Updated
To briar6: WetaJanice 1 10-28 04:03
To cicindela: ThxJanice 2 02-26 03:59
To cedryk: Ears!Janice 3 01-14 23:57
To gerhardt: Exposure settingsJanice 1 01-10 14:41
To Luc: Thank you LucJanice 3 01-09 16:23
To klemmg: WetaJanice 1 01-09 00:15
To Toucadoo: WetasJanice 1 01-09 00:12
To chrish: WetaJanice 1 01-08 04:56
To Robbrown: Thanks RobertJanice 1 01-07 05:38
To red45: AlienJanice 1 01-07 05:35
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Critiques [Translate]

Thank goodness I live in Turkey! scary looking creature! The comprehensive notes were very interesting.

  • Great 
  • manyee Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3089 W: 230 N: 6774] (23770)
  • [2006-01-07 1:31]

A perfect frontal POV of this very strange and indeed scary-looking insect. Interesting note on this species unknown to me until now. Great shot with perfect focus and exposure. Well done and TFS, Janice. : )

I like this creepy, crawly thing. He looks indeed a bit angry, must have been the jar.
Great detail on the head and good sharpness.
Liked reading your story.

  • Great 
  • dew77 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4432 W: 248 N: 4028] (13270)
  • [2006-01-07 3:36]

Hello Janice!
Wonderful capture and informative note.POV,clear details,eye contact and framing are excellent.It looks like a character from starwars;).
Have nice and sunny weekend!

This is an unique kind of insect. I know they are a quite ancient species, flightless and big. There was a full hour documentary on TV about Wetas, but I don't remember the channel. To bad we don't have it here in Europe too. It is a NZ endemic and for me is quite a long (and expensive) trip to go see it live!

Regards, Petru

Good shot of this most weird instect, Love the notes.

Well done.

  • Great 
  • Dave Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 503 W: 43 N: 657] (2178)
  • [2006-01-07 4:29]

Too cool Janice!
Pam is a mighty brave woman! Not to mention the one who photographed this thing...;-) Nice collaborative effort! Thanks for the workshop showing the profile view. That thing is mean looking... Too bad your DOF didnot also make those tail "thingies"(sic) nice and clear too...:( All creatures large and small... just don't let that "Weta" get me...;-)

  • Great 
  • Libor Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Note Writer [C: 164 W: 1 N: 25] (1101)
  • [2006-01-07 4:33]

Hi Janice
great macro shot.
You captured beautiful details and colors.thenks for good note :o)
TFS Libor

Seriously good capture Janice, thank you to both of for being brave enough to bring this to us, (It is possible to lower a captive insects temperature in a domestic fridge, NOT A FREEZER, about 20 mins will give you half a chance as they warm up for a minute or so.

  • Great 
  • red45 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2636 W: 74 N: 9091] (31094)
  • [2006-01-07 5:06]
  • [+]

Brrrrr...Janice! I like even spiders, but dislike this kind of creatures! It is ugly! But your photo - great. Excellent face to face portrait of this 'beauty' ;-)

First sunny day from 26th.

Janice - Leaving for Dallas, no time to comment but well deserved :-}

Hello Janice!
What a killer Janice!!!!
For me he looks like warrior from the past.

Hi Janice,
this is not scary it's a nice insect. The head is great.
Well composed, good details and nice colours.
I like the POV too.
Great work, my friend.

Brrrrrrr - you were very brave, Janice - I would have run away - looks so dangerous!
How big is it? I love to see it eye to eye, a perfect shot, thank you so much - also for your informative note. Have a wonderful sunday, bye
Sabine - wishnugaruda

Very nice shot Janice.

My mother grew up in New Plymouth and she is simply terrified of Wetas. She spent 20+ years living in central Texas in the US and learned to deal with Rattlesnakes, Tarantulas and Scorpions all the time in and out of the house, yet her biggest fear is still Wetas!
They seem to have an almost mythical reputation in NZ and strike fear in the heart of all Kiwis, in spite of the fact that they are just a big cricket with a large head and are harmless.

Great shot and note about a really neat animal.

Interesting capture Janice,
How nice of Pam to save this for you!!!!
Good detail, colours and sharpness.
Composition and exposure are spot on.
I'm glad we don't get these here, Lisa wouldn't leave the house!
Thanks for posting, have a great weekend.

Hi Janice,
Great post with excellent capture of this creature and a detailed interesting note. Excellent detail in the pic, one can even see the bits in the legs that make the sound (or is that just the colouring - not sure!).

Hi Janice,
A razor sharp picture of this Weta. For me a very unknown animal, your note is therefore very informative.
Good POV and natural colours. Strong visual impact.
Good job! Thx and regards, Ruud

Hi Janice,
Nice image. I particularly like the way both the antennae and front legs provide good lead into the image. Certainly keeps your eyes focused on that alien looking head.

Wow Janice that's a scary looking insect up close but a fantastic shot, I've seen video of that particular species and they are quite large insects. :)

Hi Janice!
This is an ugly creature but your capture is wonderful! Very sharp and detailed with a good DOF. I'm happy to live in Canada ;-)

  • Great 
  • Luc Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1835 W: 301 N: 4287] (14767)
  • [2006-01-09 11:02]
  • [+]

Is this a good shot, IMHO?
Yes. a very good one.
Does the note learn me something new?
Yes, a lot.
Does this photographer take an active part in the growth of the site?
Yes, with 272 photos and 5339 critics, I think so.
What do I really feel by looking at this photograph?
Fear and curiosity.
Does this photograph help me to progress?
Thank you Janice.

Wow, you and Pam must be pretty great friends, Janice!

I wouldn't have been as brave as she, to hang onto this guy for anybody!!

Interesting capture and ws.

Please don't send any over here, I like them where they are just fine.

Thank you for sharing this unusual critter with us.

I agree with Gert, not scary but a fine specimen. "A big bug" ! Would love to get this one in my sights. Nice shot, Janice. It shows nice details. Is the exposure settings correct? 30 seconds??

Hi Janice,
What a freaky looking creature! I would love to catch one of those and photograph it from every angle. Looks like something from the Sci-Fi channel....Neat shot!

  • Great 
  • TAZ Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2241 W: 47 N: 3167] (10926)
  • [2006-01-10 7:40]

Wooooow ! What an impressive macro that you have very well done ! I appreciate also the complementary note... Congratulations Janice and thanks for sharing.

  • Great 
  • PDP Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor [C: 2821 W: 344 N: 3779] (11769)
  • [2006-01-10 16:00]

It is a pretty scary bugger isn't it! Nic close up Janice. good details and thanks for including the WS. Nice work.

Great macro and composition!

Hello Janice!
Great portrait of this amazing insect. I would like to see one alive one day. The ears on the front legs are perfectly visible!
Great note. Best greetings,

Wonderfully detailed view of this Weta. It does look like an odd relative of the grasshopper - maybe it the long antennae. Nice DOF with great shades of brown.

  • Great 
  • livios Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2150 W: 319 N: 4263] (16942)
  • [2006-01-17 0:00]

Janice, you posted a monster.

Excellent sharpness, composition and "pose".

A scary one.


Great capture, Janice!
Amazing details. Dare-devil POV. Great, useful, thrilling notes, too. What a ferocious creature! Action photography at its best.
Your workshop is also very informative to anybody who has not been introduced to a weta yet - I've not even heard of it before. Size of head and jaws is XXL. Brave folks, living in NZ. Posting great pictures, too! Thank you!

  • Great 
  • pitai Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 193 W: 15 N: 155] (1212)
  • [2006-02-06 7:15]

Wow Janice!!! I never saw something like this in my hole life. Actually is very scary and looks very big too. Very good fronta picture of this inscect. thanks for sharing. Gabriel

Hi Janice

interesting animal, the dof and the pov perfect here


Hi Janice,

Very useful and very informative note. Great capture, the details on the subject is amazing.

Goutham R

Hello Janice!
I just discovered this amazing picture in your gallery! Its head is really huge (relatively to the rest of body). Fantastic creature! :) For me it looks similar (in size only of course) to S European Saga pedo, about 15-17 cm Orthoptera species which does not need males! It is partenogenetic insect ;)
TFS this "dangerous" cricket!
Greetings from Lodz,

  • Good 
  • briar6 (0)
  • [2011-10-27 18:54]
  • [+]

Actually weta are found all over the world and aren't at all primitive :) Total myth

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