The internet presents us with yet another bug from hell, advertised as a new species of Weta (nocturnal flightless cricket). It looks disgusting and terrifying – but is it real? CryptoVille investigates!
The scientific name for this thing is Hemideina thoracica, but is commonly called a Weta. In the internet version they cite the scientific name as Hemideina thoracica Predatori. There is your first clue.
The face looks like the Predator thing from the Predator movie series. If you don’t believe me, here’s a perfect photo of that beast:
Yet again some dope with too much time on their hands has fashioned a fake insect bearing the head of a movie prop.
Curious to see what the real H. thoracica looks like? The hoaxer used the body of a female Weta so let’s see one of those first.
Here’s the male version:
Note how big it is against the hand (in the sock! LOL!!). I’m very glad they live in New Zealand, far, far away from me.
Wetas in General
The good news is that they are endemic to New Zealand. The bad news is there are approximately 70 species of them. The Maori named them Wetapunga meaning “god of ugly things.” In the scientific world they are grouped into either of two Families: Anostostomatidae and Rhaphidophoridae. Most Wetas share the genus name Deinacrida, meaning “terrible grasshopper.”
They’re good at adapting to different environments so, depending on the particular species, Weta can be found in caves, forests, grasslands, and peoples’ backyards. Fortunately none of the ones from New Zealand can fly and they are nocturnal.
Their preferences in food varies according to species, but most will eat plants, fruits, and smaller bugs. Tree Weta eat “lichen, leaves, flowers, seed-heads, and fruit,” according to Wiki.
There are 11 giant versions of these creatures called the Giant Weta and here’s an example of one of those.
In this photo by photographer Mark Moffett, you can see the creature enjoying some carrot.
This particular Weta weighed 2.5 ounces (71 grams), currently the largest one of its kind on record (photo below left also by Mark Moffett).
Some funny facts about these giants include the fact they breathe through their exoskeleton and have ears on their knees! They are an ancient species dating back to the Triassic period around 190 million years ago.
Many of these species are close to being extinct because they have been eaten by rats that were introduced unintentionally via the first European settlers in the area. Right now the only safe haven for them is on New Zealand’s Little Barrier Island.
And there they may stay! I have no interest in finding one of those things! How about you?