Wow! What a beauty.

What a lotta weta
4:00AM Monday Sep 07, 2009
By Eloise Gibson



Brave children have been dared.

New Zealand's largest - and arguably scariest-looking - insect is taking up residence in the Auckland Airport precinct.

The giant wetapunga normally lives and breeds only on Little Barrier Island. However, 16 of the endangered creatures have been moved to Butterfly Creek in Mangere as part of a captive breeding programme.

The spiny insects will be on display to visitors with tarantulas, giant centipedes, mantids, native and introduced cockroaches and other creepy-crawlies.

Butterfly Creek's resident weta expert, Paul Barrett, has worked with the Department of Conservation for five years studying and collecting wetapunga from Little Barrier for breeding.

It is hoped the wetapunga - which can be eaten by rats - will breed in their purpose-built enclosure so rangers can release them on to pest-free islands.

From here.